My husband and I are coffee lovers. We’ve become pseudo snobs. We can hardly resist when it’s offered, no matter the time of day. Especially him, he is apparently unaffected by caffeine and can fall asleep practically anywhere at any time. Me? I love the rich aroma and the feeling that it gives, particularly those first few sips that warm my body and provide comfort, and perhaps some assistance to morning brain fog.
Often the activity of having coffee involves other people too. How often do we connect with a friend for “coffee," or have people over for "coffee”? Coffee in quotes because it’s more than a cup of joe. It is a conversation, it is face-to-face, it is time set aside, it is connection.
During the pandemic, my husband and I were both able to be home and work from home when lockdown occurred. It was a bit unsettling as our daily rhythms changed, yet at first we enjoyed the pace of life it offered us. We slowed down a bit and took time to be together in the mornings over a cup of coffee. We spent our mornings on our laptops drinking more coffee side by side, working away. I guess it grounded us. Perhaps it made us feel more connected?
After a while, however, we noted that our daily coffee intake was increasing and we needed to make a switch before the coffee ate away the lining of our stomachs. We still had our morning brew, but we decided to start drinking tea in the afternoons instead. Neither of us had really been tea drinkers before, but this new way of life helped us embrace it. It was a welcome change, and it became a ritual for us. We found we could connect over tea just as easily as we could over coffee and feel better in the process. Who knew?
We still have our tea every night.
The past couple of years and recently, I have been experiencing feelings of displacement. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can tend to feel like a third wheel in so many situations, like I see myself outside of an impervious barrier. It’s easy to perceive, irrational as it may be, that everyone else is more connected, having more fun, experiencing better friendships, and they are inside of something and I’m looking in. Being really vulnerable with you, I have this little gnawing voice in my head that says, “you just don’t quite fit.”
Do you ever feel this way?
For me, it may be this season of life. I’m at the age where some of the connections I once had have shifted due to kids leaving for college and other mid-life transitions. My roles have changed at home, at work, and with friendships. I’ve found myself in unfamiliar territory. There is a part of me that naively thought at this point in life things would feel a bit more locked in. In my relationships with friends, circumstances with my kids, in knowing myself more fully, I imagined being a little bit more settled.
Goodness, life is complex! People are complicated. Relationships are hard. They take time and require time set aside. Relationships take two people intentionally moving toward one another. Showing up over and over again. True connection happens when people feel seen and valued. It causes people to feel heard, understood and experience a sense of belonging. This is a beautiful thing when it happens, yet deeply painful when one makes an effort and the other person does not. This is why vulnerability is so scary sometimes.
Brene Brown says in her book Daring Greatly that: “Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives; and without it there is suffering.” I mostly agree with this. It resonates with me. We all yearn to connect, and this is what motivates much of our behavior, though each of us may pursue connection differently. Yet, there is a "deeper still" to this sentiment for me, and it is that we are hardwired for connection ultimately with our creator. With Jesus. He is our ultimate source.
In John 15:5 Jesus says:
”Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
And one of my very favorite passages is this Psalm of David in Psalm 23:1-6:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The living and active word of God reminds me who my source is and where to find it. When I am connected to Jesus in prayer and through His word, I am truly grounded - and I can live more freely in peace knowing that He will meet every need in my heart as I allow Him to.
I’m learning to lean into the unsettling of this season and embrace the change of new rhythms little by little. I’m learning that a true connection with one person at a time is better for my spirit than trying to burst my way into inner circles. I’m learning to rest in that reality and in the loving hands of my Creator.
The proverbial buzz that coffee offers exchanged for the sustaining comfort of an afternoon tea has been a welcome change.