An Altar at the Coffee Counter

It was a chilly Thursday, a few moments not claimed by children or school and the perfect chance to dip into the coffee shop and sit for a bit. After paying for my coffee I stepped over to the counter  with cup in hand to fill it up.

There were four carafes of coffee- and all four just filled with hot goodness in the past 5 minutes according to the time written on the signs on each one. I started to smile. One half cup of hazelnut and one half of dark roast. Oh yum. Then down to the other end, where every choice I could want for sweetener is right there on the counter, and labeled and organized and available for my waiting steaming cup. I chose my favorite, stirred it in.

 But that wasn't all- then there are tall, cold, metal pitchers full of creamers- 2%, skim...and they turn my dark drink into lovely swirls of beige. I was enjoying this process, all these choices- so much luxury!- when the smell of the nutmeg hit.

 As if all these beautiful options were not enough, I spied the stash of shakers almost hidden to the left: nutmeg, cinnamon. Chocolate, And the scent, that warm, comforting, enveloping smell as the nutmeg hit the hot coffee and the steam lifted it up to my nose, that scent brought the hit more that my nose, it went into me, to my heart.

 Yes, I knew I looked ridiculous standing at the coffee counter trying to hold back the tears, but here is the thing- I just was knocked down, I was just stricken, with the gift of it. With the beauty of the choices there, the luxury of drinking coffee someone else had prepared for me, and the bounty of things in front of me to make it taste exactly like I wanted it to...I was filled with true gratitude and I could only respond with tears.

How blessed am I?! In this moment, yes, all things are not perfect in my life- my body is not 100% and is healing, there are things that I have been thinking of and dealing with just this morning that frustrate me and hurt me. In that moment, the few minutes it takes to make a cup of coffee, I had been reconnected to the beauty of a simple act and the blessing it can be when you pay attention to it, when you realize that hot coffee can be a gift from God.

 I wiped tears and stirred my cup, tried to act like just a normal person stirring a cup of coffee- but in my heart, I wanted to grab everyone around, off their seats, and drag them to the counter, to the nutmeg, to the raw sugar, to the creamer, to what had become for me an altar... and let them experience it too.


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