Coffee and conversation with a friend can lead to an unknown place. There are things that I don’t even know about myself until that mug warms my hand. Comforting aromas open my mind and release the flow of memories and emotions from the last time we talked. Overstuffed chairs lull me to a safe place, and the intimate dark colors on the celling protect our conversation as it pours out.
Time after time our words trickle around our days, our jobs, our kids, our husbands: but if we can stay there long enough, it seeps into a rich conversation. Sitting just a little longer past comfortable, and we begin to talk about our expectations, our hopes, our disappointments, and our failures. Drinking deep, our words will drift to a place where we need something from our friend: a word of forgiveness and a word of hope.
Eventually we end up talking about the things have done and the things we left undone. I end up confessing my fears. You tell me about the crazy little voices that haunt your mind too. We are lost in a tiny world of trust, sitting in our local coffee shop.
When we are here, exposed and vulnerable, there is only one thing we need: comfort. I need comfort. You need comfort. We need a word from each other that we are not crazy; we need a word from each other that it will all be ok.
But so often I forget what you really need. Instead, I look down at you in pity, and wonder why there are tears in your eyes. I give you the latest and greatest piece of advice. I dwell on what you are doing wrong and how I can solve it. I set my haughty eyes above your pain, and without even knowing it, I begin to wash away your hope.
And here in the coffee shop, our conversation ends.
Only a few days later, our conversation boils up in my memory. The words burn in my mind as I remember the empty platitudes I served to you. The bitter flavor of my self-glorifying advice makes my stomach turn. I am sick with guilt because I realize I forgot what we both really need.
Sister, know that my life is messy. My advice is not right. There is so much I have done wrong and so much more that will disappoint in the future. You are not doing so well either. When we are honest in the coffee shop, it’s pretty clear that our lives, our thoughts, our families, our desires, are pretty messed up. But it will be ok.
Sister, meet me in the coffee shop to expose our sins. But don’t stop there. Meet me at the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Kneel with me to confess that we are sinful and unclean. Drink deep of the overflowing forgiveness poured out by the blood of Christ. Taste the sweet promise of our victory celebration in His body given for you. Because He has done it – it will all be ok.
And here at the Lord’s table, our conversation has only begun.