I was sitting in that worn leather chair. The one I always claim with my bag before I can even order because it faces the window of small town traffic and swallows you up, so even in a room full of people you can feel like it’s just you and your caffeine that knows how to love you better than people do.
But today the chair didn’t help.
I heard words, they were coming at me. They were directed to me, to receive, process, respond to. But instead I kept re-counting the ice cubes in my iced coffee, 11…12, well that one’s basically melted… maybe just 11. I’d occasionally glance out to the pick-ups passing by, then go back to counting.
I think the thing I love most about coffee shops is their ability to create an atmosphere of comfort, the kind that says, “Tell me your story, I want to hear it.”
I’m a lover of stories and just that week a nice old man told me how the Iranian nuclear deal was a “Helluva tragedy”. Before that an old friend told me how she’d taken up an interest in bounty hunting to supplement the bills, so she could do what she really loves. I’m not sure what it is but there must be something about Nora Jones in the background and mismatched furniture that makes the art of conversation more normal than it is outside those walls.
But here, right now, I didn’t want to hear this story.
Because sometimes ice cubes bound to clinking against the walls of your glass and the familiarity of an old chair are more appealing than the terrifying feeling of not knowing what to do.
As soon as I saw the words roll across my phone screen I knew he was right.
This is what you wrote about the other day…
This is real life…
But what happens when a hypothesis turns into a conclusion?
What happens when you write and rail and nag about grace, but then you actually have to give it? Or even worse, you realize you’ve settled so comfortably into your words you forgot to notice you hadn’t been displaying very much grace to anyone for a while now.
What happens is you suck it up. You stop wasting time and you stop trying to rub lotion on the stretch marks of your heart. You recognize that it hurts-you recognize that sin hurts everyone. It comes in and it plants itself in a square centimeter of someone’s afternoon and before you know it, it’s grown arms and legs and began walking, covering miles and miles of heart space that will never forget the stench it left behind as it strolled through.
And once you’re done realizing you give grace. You breathe grace. You birth grace, because those ugly stretch marks weren’t in vain. I promise you they weren’t.
Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds…he will revive us;
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.