Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Category: Healthy Living

The Street Corner

We recently took a trip to Seattle and Garry dropped me off at one of my favorite coffee shops. I ordered a drink and did some people watching. Beside me was a guy with a guitar and dreads laboring over a small notebook. I noticed how the barista acted like the bar was a shield between her and the customers. In the corner sat an older man working diligently on his computer between smoke breaks.  I did some writing. I enjoyed the experience, and Garry was due to pick me up soon. Due to the parking situation I decided to wait for him outside.

I stepped out of the welcoming coffee shop and on to the street corner. It was a handy place to stand because I could see traffic in so many directions. But it was cold, and in less than two minutes I began to feel awkward.

A younger guy who was high on something stumbled by. A well-dressed guy kept eying me  while acting like he was doing something on his phone. A scantily dressed woman walked by, swinging her hips and trying to catch the eye of the guy just down the street. Two guys sauntered by, holding hands and looking into one another’s eyes. I looked behind me and saw a small band of poorly dressed young adults apparently fighting over something they were examining from an old grocery bag. An older lady, shabbily dressed but with steps of purpose, walked by carrying her groceries.

Garry didn’t come.Both our phones were nearly dead, and for just a moment I imagined what it would be like if he never came back. Seattle with no money in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Suddenly I knew that my few “good ideas” about downtown were sorely disconnected from reality. I imagined how hard it would be to actually get out of this neighborhood if you were born here. I imagined what kind of help you might need to get a better job, how much effort it would be to change your self-perceptions, and the long journey to better habits. The complexity of the conversation hit me hard.

Soon Garry came and we returned to our safe world. The mental photos and haunted feelings remain as a reminder to pray for so many who are caught and for those who reach out to them.

Arrived?

I awoke this morning exactly where I’ve wanted to be, the place I’ve worked so hard to journey to, the destination I have run, walked, and crawled toward. The place that has made bloody knees and  broken hearts worthwhile. The tree that is finally bearing some fruit.

And suddenly, I am not so sure. The journey has been amazing, and grueling and costly. But now that I am here, there are new battles to fight, new problems to solve, and new insecurities to prey on me.

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Where am I, exactly? It’s hard to describe, but maybe the correct word is “belonging”. I’ve moved enough times that I know the routines, and each time the newness gives way to routines and strangers become friends. The risks I took in reaching out to new people eventually begin to bear fruit, and relationships are born. Instead of being an outsider, I become an insider at some level, in some circles. I find a place in the circle where I can offer the things that God has so graciously gifted me with.

In the beginning, you reach out at every opportunity, and many of those efforts pay off at the same time. And so instead of asking God to open doors you begin asking Him to close a few. But each door already has a part of you inside, and the closing is painful, so instead of allowing a door to slam, you shove your foot inside, leaving a crack. And then you battle your way through managing all the doors you’ve propped open with a foot, an extra jar of homemade soup, a hand, or a well-loved shoe. This battle becomes deep enough that you discuss it in the second person, as though it isn’t you. As though it isn’t me.

And then I come back to the basics of God and life and love: not all these paths are mine, and it is ok if doors close to me. I am a part of the Body, and there is nearby, and likely willing, someone who is gifted to walked through some of these doors. Only some doors are mine, only one path is meant to be traveled by me. The others are yours. Or someone else’s. So, in this place where I’ve finally arrived, I choose to settle in and live in the rooms, on the path, designed for me.

Wondering & Revolution

My grandmother used to say she was tormented in her mind. These days I feel with her, the nagging doubts, the questions, the wondering. In her case, I don’t think she knew the way out. In mine, I know. I must simply take the journey that it requires.

The journey? Looking the doubts, the questions, the wonders in the face and telling the truth about them. And then, living the truth. This moment, this day. And if getting from here to truth is a journey all its own, I take the first step.
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What do I wonder? I wonder about world poverty and the distance between affluence and starving. I wonder about how many clothes are in my closet and how much food we consume every day. I wonder at the millions of things we have access to and the way we use them.
And I see that there are things that can be done. And at some level, I think we must first take care of our own: we must live responsibly in our small circle. We must invest in people in ways that matter and provide what those closest to us need. We must set priority for the generations: a way of thinking and living that can outlive us.
This process of living well is living one step above those surrounding us, maybe. Maybe it is feeding our family healthy food, a value that can be repeated by neighbours and friends. Maybe that is followed by whole, local foods that enable the local small businesses to survive. Maybe this step is accompanied by building community where God calls us…. living with abandon for the least of these. Enabling them to not only survivie but pass on what they learn and what is invested in them. Maybe it grows to volunteering locally.
And maybe worldwide change is powered by our personal revolutions: because our revolution will lead some in our community to actually go overseas and repeat the process. Maybe what God says about the family, the church, and the state is actually true: we grow world leaders in homes with real families and real neighbors and true friends. And for each of us, our circle can grow organically and the world can be changed. Maybe.

Living Well

Lower back injury. Rash. Stomach issues. Overwhelming emotion. Deep fatigue. These things have gotten me thinking about living well. What does it mean to live well, and what kind of fruit does it produce?

I usually think of living well in terms of being healthy, content, and productive. I think these are all good things, and sometimes they happen, maybe even at the same time. However, often they seem elusive despite my best efforts to live better, to eat healthy, to make good choices. And it makes me wonder.

Maybe we are, in fact, made for another world. Maybe we were put together to live forever, but not in this fallen world that breaks us down and wears us out. Maybe living well is to wear out in the process. Maybe to do something that matters is costly in more ways than we want to admit.

Yet despite these realities, there is value in living well. There is value in feeding our bodies good food, our minds truth, and our spirits time to reflect. It isn’t about reaching perfection, but about being able to finish the journey well.

That’s why I love to find ways to live well in all areas of life. Join me on this quest, if you will.

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