I don’t know her age because I don’t think a number represents her well. It’s been well over a year now that she befriended me and I can’t quite remember why she did in the first place. But I am grateful that at one point she slipped her well-worn hand in mine and whispered into my ear, “Come over to my home. Drink coffee with me and let me listen to your story of young toddlers, fresh dreams, and deep burdens.”
And so I did.
And so I still do.
The first time I stepped into her home, she was warming my coffee mug in the microwave. I have never once had someone care so deeply, nor take the time to care about the warmth of my coffee mug, but she did. She shared her secret with me of pouring water into a mug, heating it up only to dispose of it, so that my mug would be warm to the touch. It’s hard to explain why I felt so loved by this act, but I did.
It’s as if that small action showed a new level of caring. It said, “I’ve been expecting you and I have been waiting in great anticipation for you.”
And truth be told, I don’t know the last time I felt that my presence was that special, let alone anticipated.
I spend most of my days chasing around a two and a three-year-old, falling behind on laundry, and running late on homework for my master’s class I decided to take on theological studies. Who am I to think I could mix making dinner schedules and grocery lists with new dreams and ambitious goals? In fact, who am I to think that someone who spends most of her time with an unachievable to-do list in one hand and a shrinking diaper bag in another has enough time to simply sit on a couch and drink coffee?
Without knowing it, I began to fear time and believe that every space must be filled with something — anything — to continue checking off the list.
To sit and sip coffee on my new friend’s couch felt like pedaling backwards in a society that asks me to only pedal forward. But as I sat on that mauve sofa with green florals, my soul began a new thing – something I forgot how to do. My soul took a deep breath and as the clock ticked I began to take more deep breaths. It seemed as though I was made for this kind of living.
My new friend didn’t have an interview of questions for me. She wasn’t there to hold me accountable or give me a new assignment. She was there to listen to me, breathe with me, sip coffee with me, and dare I say . . . linger with me. My friend with the worn hands had discovered the art of something our society needs, what my soul was hungry for although I couldn’t even distinguish my starving spirit.
This unlikely friend taught me the art of creating intentional time for unintentional conversation.
And this art isn’t new; it’s one she’s learned as a woman who lingers with the Ancient of Days. It’s an understanding of Jesus and how He always made intentional time for unintentional conversation, as if to say, “I’ve been expecting you. I’m so glad you are here.”
We see this mainly with Jesus’ disciples. He never held a huge agenda, nor did He have five questions to ask them each day. Instead, He held out a towel to wash their feet, warmed by His hands, whispering, “I’ve been expecting you. I’m so glad you’re here.”
And He is doing that for us today. Many of us don’t have a mauve couch awaiting us or a coffee cup being warmed in the microwave, but we do have a God who is saying, “Come over to my home. Drink coffee with me and let me listen to your story of fresh dreams and deep burdens. I’ve been expecting you.”
Let’s go first and slow down long enough to crave the lingering.