It’s been a recent discovery that I really can’t stand “coffee dates.” To list a few reasons in varying degrees of validity; I can’t even drink coffee right now without feeling like I’m 9 weeks pregnant all over again and wanting to puke and punch everything in the face (the caffeine makes me anxious- but only from coffee) but even before being pregnant, I couldn’t stand driving half way across Denver to some hipster coffee joint that scoffs at me when I say “no flavor in the latte please” and responds condescendingly with, “that wasn’t an option.” I cannot parallel park- judge all you wish. But most of all, I feel like the content of conversation is immediately watered down- authenticity suffers as a result of what you should wear or wondering what they’ll wear, and maybe I’m just a little ADD but there’s just too much going on to achieve the level of conversation God has placed on my heart to get into at this point in my life. So why is this our “go-to?”
Why is it that we rekindle contact with someone, or encounter someone new at church etc who wants to get a little deeper and the immediate epiphany is “Oh my gosh, we should SO get coffee.” At which point, because I’m an enneagram 9 and lack assertiveness and avoid conflict Like.The.Plague. I say “Sounds great- let me know where and when” and then inevitably cancel within the next few days (I know, I know, I’m working on it.)
When I was newly sober I was SO paranoid because it seemed that anyone I reconnected with immediately wanted to “grab a drink” Which was fair considering people that knew me at one time or another inevitably knew of my passion for good beer. My left side is tattooed with a depiction of barley, hops, and hop flowers. I don’t know how many times my husband had to give me word for word examples of how to respond in order to direct people to a coffee shop or something other than a bar. I was petrified. BUT- talk about being forced really quickly into authenticity. It seemed that no matter what- during those meetings God somehow gave me some otherworldly courage and I just spilled my guts. That my life had taken some turns and I was newly sober. Even if it was awkward sharing it in a room crowded by people who looked like they were writing novels or getting ready to attend the grand opening of a Free Trade Chocolatier. or something.
I’m thinking now that it was these awkward soul baring meetings that edged me closer to authenticity. Not only with sharing my story and being authentic with others- but finally being authentic with myself. So, I guess it makes sense that I’m no longer content with setting aside a time to meet with someone to talk about work and how exciting it is to be pregnant. I want to ask them what they’re hung up on, how their relationships are, and when needed- to share my struggles too. Like my fear of this child having something wrong with it and how I would handle it and remain faithful without feeling like it is punishment for the terrible things I lived for so long. Or how when I think about it too much I get really discouraged with the whole step-parenting thing while thinking of becoming a new mom- not to mention how the enemy whispers, “I bet B’s Mom didn’t gain this much weight,” “I bet Kyle thinks the kicks of his first child were more special than your baby’s.” Not to mention my battle with the baby’s gender- not wanting to know in order to remind us that God is beautifully in control of ALL of this but also because there’s this lingering desire to give my husband a little girl- something that another woman hasn’t already given him.
That being said, I am opting out of coffee dates- unless the content includes things of this nature. Because it’s in this authenticity, the shame, the hurt, the guilt, the dirt that my heart surges- and that I feel bound to someone in the way I feel I’m meant to during this season of life.
My husband and I are this team that has witnessed God’s movement so strongly in our lives that we know first hand that beautiful things come from really ugly places. Like, addiction- suicide- nearly calling off your wedding a few weeks before the date as a result of confession etc. Beauty lies in the things we never intend to take place in our lives. The things that hurt, scare and disgust us. And for us, coffee shops just don’t cut it for these kind of conversations.
So for now, our ministry as a couple that lives and breathes Grace’s victory- is to invite you into our home to break bread with us. For conversation to flow just in the way He leads and to always remain faithful to our storied pasts, testimony and our overwhelming passion for getting right back in the mud to remember how great it feels to be washed clean- whenever the opportunity arises.
Don’t get me wrong- being pregnant IS beautiful. truly. Almost as beautiful a mystery as the gift of being saved by grace.