I went over to my best friend’s new home recently. Her home was put together in her and her husband’s combined style. In walking around I began to feel more and more at home. She is one of my best friends in the world, but we were also roommates for years during and after college.
She made us coffee and brunch that we shared as we caught up on the big and small things of life. As she offered me coffee, I noticed the arrangement of coffee mugs she had pulled out of her cupboards. None matching, but they all fit her style. And with the exception of one or two new additions, I recognized them all. I knew her coffee mugs. This realization caught my attention. The simple realization that I knew her coffee mugs, had used a majority of them before pointed to something really beautiful and worth celebrating.
We had a home that we shared after college before either of us got married. It was a dream home, life situation and experience to revel in the freedom and terrifying reality that in this post-grad life, we really needed to figure out our lives. The best part is that we did it together, crafting our lives and habits into what they would be.
Don’t get me wrong, there was angst. There are several times when we both look back and refer to our “crying on the stairs moments.” These were the moments when we received news of a beloved grandparents death or had a hard day at work. We would share these moments not on our comfortable couch but on the hardwood stairs.
This beautiful, golden time was special for its shared community and hospitality but mostly, I think what I appreciate the most is that we adopted an attitude of unfearful openness. Trust had already been established, so we lived our lives in a way that would have scared me in any other context.
Over coffee or tea, conversations were had about the big and the small things of life and they slowly shaped us into who we were becoming and are today. In order for this to happen, all involved had to adopt an attitude and expectation of complete openness, which I am learning is an expression of hospitality to the other human being in front of you.
Being brave enough to allow another person on the inside of who you are is difficult when the world reminds you over and over the power, the other has to hurt you. It is expected for us to create our little islands of safety and security where no one could possibly hurt us. Bu that is lonely and not how God designed us to be. He created us relational being, meant to live whole, open, connected, and communal lives.
I want to continue this kind of life- of finding good friends and letting them shape me and me shape them into what God has in mind for his kingdom- a relational masterpiece. I do not want to allow the ice of this world to make my heart cold and closed. I want to be brave enough to leave it open, knowing that is the gift God wants all of us to give the world.
I started digging around in her kitchen drawers looking for a spoon to stir some honey into my coffee she had just poured me into the familiar mug she had let me select. Her husband made the comment- “Oh, yeah dig around!” He was being helpful, wanting to dispel any discomfort I may feel digging around in their kitchen drawers. There was no need. I already felt comfortable, safe, free to bring my whole self into her space. Because I knew her and her coffee mugs.