Six thirty a.m. & I’m wide-awake. There’s no use fighting it. I might as well go run.
On the dirt road, I dodge potholes & students walking to school. Each passerby stops & stares as the mujungu runs by in her skirt. One boy recognizes me & yells that I’m late this morning. A smile crosses my face. A truck rolls by disturbing the scenery with a storm of dust, causing me to squint & run with my face down.
Thoughts whirl through my head pushing my pace & straining my breathe. Frustration gathers with each pound of my foot. Questions scream their way to God. Poverty, sin, grace, satisfaction, sanctification. I can’t empathize with the people. I can’t grasp the answers. I can’t fix anything. I don’t even understand my self. I turn around to sprint home.
I long for satisfaction in God. I am a Christian, isn’t satisfaction guaranteed with the package? Then where is it? I could analyze this in a big discussion of theology & philosophy. I could look up the definition of each Hebrew & Greek word. I’m good at wading in thoughts too big for my head. But how do I find satisfaction in God in the simple verbs of everyday living? In running, dancing, playing with children? How do I catch a glimpse of God’s radiance in something as simple as a cup of coffee? The simplicity daunts me.
Back at my desk, I stare at my own morning cup of joe. There’s no radiance in the drink today. The bold flavor lies flat beneath too much water & an ant has taken the liberty to make it his swimming pool. I stare out of the window, listening to the morning noise on the streets. Children yell as they chase each other to school. Across the road, I hear a class greeting their teacher in depressed English. Bodas rumble. Men exchange news. Life continues on as normal.
My frustration boils. How do I help these people? How do I embody love & grace? How do I teach independence of self but dependence upon God? Do I battle for justice or turn the other cheek when 2 windows are slashed & Alisha’s camera stolen? Do I answer the incessant knocks on our door asking for money? Where is God’s glory in these moments? Frustration boils like blistering water over the sides of my heart.
As I turn to vent on the blank pages of my journal, my elbow knocks the brown coffee mug, sending morning comfort to decorate the walls & floor. For a second, all I can do is stare. Life stinks sometimes.
In the kitchen, I pour more water in the kettle to boil. Too exasperated & impatient to wait for the percolator, I tear open a VIA package & stir in the mocha flavored powder. A sigh escapes, materializing my emotions.
Birds whistle outside. Another boda revs his engine. A knock at the door. Greetings & questions. A thud on my roof, from who knows what creature. I sip my coffee. The sweet dark goodness melts my insides & I close my eyes & give thanks.
Then I understand. God’s gift to me: a good cup of coffee to show me He cares, even when I’m perturbed with His world. The first cup wouldn’t do. It wasn’t as pleasurable as Him.
A second sigh escapes. This time, a sigh of peace. Peace that comes when one is understood. When one feels Love. I may not understand this world, the people, or even my own walk with God. I may not have the answers or the capabilities to fix all problems. But right now, in this moment, I am at rest in my ignorance & weakness. I feel His presence soothe my scolding heart. He is near & I am calm.
Light shines through, filtered by my white curtains. The house begins to stir with breakfasts & quiet times. A bird serenades the moment from the tree above.
& I sip my morning’s cup of coffee.