Round 2 of Coffee…

I can remember the night like it was yesterday. The air was warm and yet slightly crisp for a fall night. The lights glistened and the noise of traffic and people filled the city space. I was downtown Toronto with two of my most favourite people in the whole world, my parents.
I realize it’s not everyday that you hear someone talk this way about their parents, but then again, you probably don’t know my parents. I will admit it a thousand times, I’m a very lucky girl. Living independently over the past two years has only served as a big reminder of that. I love my parents but not just because they me life and raised me but because they’re just two of the best people I know. They love to have experiences, they love conversation, they like to travel and they’re bent on not getting set in their ways. They like to think about things, especially their faith. They love to meet interesting people. When we’re together we laugh and we tell stories and we remember why life is such a gift. They are the people who I desperately seek advice from on almost everything, because what they think matters to me, and because too often than not, the words they give me change my perspective on life.
So this past September, on the weekend of my 25thbirthday, my parents drove to Toronto for the evening to take me out for a special birthday dinner at Marche. If you’ve never been to this restaurant you really need to go, it’s one of those places you have to experience at least once. So we went and we sat at a cute little table under a large skylight, surrounded by white lights in green trees. And for the next few hours we ate food that made our taste buds spring to life, and by candlelight and white lights we talked and laughed and shared stories. And a while after the first round of dessert coffee, they decided it was time for the second round of coffees. I love having coffee with people; it’s actually one of my favourite things to do. I’ve been on enough coffee dates to know that there are only certain people and certain circumstances that make you entertain the possibility of a round 2 of coffees. And so on this perfect night, we enjoyed round 2 of coffee because there was nowhere else we wanted to be than right there, in that moment, with each other.
This is the memory that I can’t get out of my head. It was everything about that night. It was being in the city, it was the pizza my Mom and I shared, it was watching my Dad’s eyes light up while he ate one of his favourite desserts, it was the feeling I got inside when my parents stood up to go and get round 2 of coffee. It was the realization that there wasn’t anywhere else they had to be; they just wanted to be there with me. Tears come to my eyes as I think about this night and as I consider that this is what it feels like to be loved. This is what it’s like to be fully present with someone. This is what it feels like to all of a sudden realize that those people are not just your parents; they’ve become two of your closest friends.
And when my counselor tells me to close my eyes and think about a memory that makes me feel safe, and seen, and heard, and loved, this is what I think about.
And when my mentor talks to me about Jesus just wanting to be present with me, this is the memory that I compare it to. Because if this is what it’s like for my parents to just want to be with me, then what might it be like for my Heavenly Father to just want to be with me?
I don’t know if my parents know just what that round 2 of coffees meant that night, but for me that second cup of coffee was a spiritual experience in every way.
Utterly thankful,
The Kindred Spirit

Sometimes You Need to Leave…

As I sit here and write this I am flying high above the clouds, on my way home to Toronto after a wonderful weekend spent in the South.
I’m a firm believer that sometimes in order to remember why you love a place, you have to leave it. Even if you leave for just a short time, for the good of your heart, and your mind and your soul, for the good of your story you need to go. As I look out the window and see the moon shine on the clouds beneath me, and every now and again catch a glimpse of the land below, I am reminded that I am so small and insignificant. Yet here I am surrounded by gifts, starting with the very blood that runs through my veins and gives me life.
Airports are one of my most favourite places. I know, I’m weird. People from all over the world in one place, everyone on the go with some place to be. I sit and I watch them. I wonder about their lives. Where do they come from? Why do they dress like that? What is their story? Why does she look so sad? Why is that man wearing a dress? I listen to the accents, to the languages, I hear them talk on their cell phones and wonder where their homes are? The men and women in uniform walk past and I look in their eyes. I can’t help but wonder where they will serve and if one day they will give their life for their country? Are they afraid? All of a sudden I can find myself sitting beside someone from across the world and if only for a 2 hour flight, isn’t is strange that our stories will collide for such a small amount of time, probably never to intersect again? There is no other place like an airport.
I blink and I’m in another country, and it seems like another world. I’ve been here many times before but it always feels different. The culture is not what I know and yet I’ve seen it in the movies. I’m shocked that the portrayal isn’t that far off. And as I’m swept into the south, I am also swept into the presence of people that I love so dearly. And for one weekend we laugh and cry and watch hours of Dr. Quinn Medicine woman. I spend hours holding the most precious baby that I’ve ever laid eyes on. I shower him with kisses and hugs and whispers of “I love you”. We make fun of each other’s accents, we reminisce about times past, memories that feel like they were just yesterday and at the same time seem so far away. We celebrate new life and the heartaches that have brought us to this place. We aren’t who we used to be. Time has made us deeper, scarred us in a way but if we could, would we choose to go back?
At the end of the day, I lie in bed and check my phone. I read updates of home. I think about my life there and my present reality, they are so different. My heart can’t help but feel overwhelmed with thankfuls. How can I be so blessed? Why me? I have been showered with gifts and so easily I forget them. I’m sorry. Illuminate my sight; I don’t want to miss what is all around me.
The moon is beautiful tonight. I’m closer to it up here but it still seems so far away. Where did this weekend go? I blink and I’m in another country and it is indeed another world. This is why I love to travel. This is why I love the rush and the hustle and bustle and newness of a different place.
Because sometimes you have to leave to remember what you have.
Sometimes the money that it takes to get you there just doesn’t matter, because your soul needs those people, needs that place, needs to know what it’s like to come back. Sometimes your eyes need to see the moon from the other side of the clouds. We need to “awe”, we need to “wonder” and be overwhelmed with our own smallness.
Sometimes leaving isn’t just about going; it’s about opening yourself up to the God of the universe who is bigger than we can comprehend. It’s about letting Him amaze us. It’s about letting Him make us feel small, so we remember how big He is.
So, maybe you need to leave, even for a short while, so you can remember the things you don’t even realize you’ve forgotten.
And the funny thing is, sometimes the leaving makes the staying all the more richer.
Yours truly,
The Kindred Spirit