Coffee Shop Church
I sat under a huge Epe tree this Sunday morning, which, although it offered plenty of shade, barely kept Julia and me cool. You'd think at 8 in the morning you could still drink a hot coffee, but, I regretted my decision to not get it iced.
Despite the heat, Julia and I talked. And by talked, I mean we opened our hearts to each other and shared the hard stuff. Business disappointments, relationships ended, faith struggles. And we cried. Because life can be so hard. And as always, our moms (who are not on this earth anymore in physical form) were there. Still speaking to us. This is how conversations between Julia and me go. Deep.
In the middle of tears and whispers, an older gentleman saunters through the wrought iron tables. We notice his quick pace and loud comments. His long, white hair and beard are offset by his casual (almost tattered) clothes.
He confidently approaches the outdoor, public piano, sits down and plays. Loudly. Beautifully. Surprisingly well. We giggle and keep talking. Then he starts to sing. Loudly. Not beautifully, but confidently, and we can't keep talking through our laughter. It's not a "making-fun-of" laughter; it's a "isn't-life-funny" laughter.
He stops as abruptly as he began. Everyone outside starts applauding, and he takes a deep bow. "Thank you. I've got places to go!" (Keep in mind that it's only 8:30am.) He hasn't ordered a coffee. Or come to meet anyone. But he smiles big and heads for his bike.
As he hops on, one of the other coffee drinkers (an old neighbor) jumps up because he realizes this guy is about to take his bike! We have a moment of disappointment in our piano playing friend. And then the pianist gets right back off as he recognizes he has gotten on the wrong bike. He laughs making loud exclamations and heads to his own bike. We all sigh with relief.
Julia and I look at each other in pure joy. There is a sacredness in the moment. The sad stories shared from our hearts, the visiting moms, the concert by a bum and the musings of God and faith. All within moments. God was very present at our coffee shop church this morning.