Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Coffee On The Porch
My friend, Susan, and I have shared some wonderful moments of friendship. We have seen each other through good times and bad, shared laughter and tears, and enjoyed each other's company through it all. I lived in Susan's home with her for a few months following my initial move to North Carolina. We spent many evenings together just talking and sharing the events of the day. During the summer and early fall, we developed a ritual that we called, "Coffee on the Porch". Susan would fix us each her special coffee: french vanilla coffee creamer, coffee, and whipped cream with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top. We would then take our coffee out to her huge front porch where each of us would occupy a comfy rocking chair and there is where we ended our day. As the weather grew cooler, we had our coffee in the den, still calling it "Coffee on the Porch".
When I found my own place and moved out of Susan's home, I dreadfully missed those calm, unhurried evenings where Susan and I would sip coffee and end the day. I gradually developed my own form of "Coffee on the Porch" by calling Susan and saying, "I'm having coffee on the porch". She would be having her coffee, too, and, over the phone, we would end the day. Eventually, "Coffee on the Porch" began to stand for fellowship and friendship, whether we were on the porch or not. I recall a time when I was driving home from a trip to Ohio to visit my family. I had stopped at a Starbuck's and gotten my favorite cafe latte. I got back on the interstate, looked at the time, and immediately called Susan, "I'm in the car and I'm having coffee on the porch". Susan started laughing and we talked for a few minutes about my trip and what was going on in both our lives. I smiled when I hung up the phone and thanked God for my friend.
Since then, Susan and I have told many of our other friends about "Coffee on the Porch". You see, what we have come to realize is that fellowship and friendship do not need a designated spot or ritual. Matters of the heart seldom do. What we have also discovered is that people, women in particular, are hungry for real friendship and true fellowship. It is the celebrations of life that make it rich and, sometimes, the celebration can be something as simple as being grateful for life and the opportunities it brings.
Recently, after our Women's Bible Study, several of those who attended, myself included, joined Susan in her beautiful home for, of course, "Coffee on the Porch". She and I shared with everyone about this time of fellowship and how it all came about. We had so much fun just talking about the things of God, our lives, our children, and how important Christian fellowship can be. Susan's Mother, whom everyone calls Memaw, shared some stories about Susan with us and we laughed hysterically at the some of the things she told about Susan and her sister, Vicki. Pastor Mike kept the coffee coming and, from time to time, came in and joined us. All in all, it was a great time and a lovely way to end the day.
I am convinced that friendship is God's way of extending His hand to us on a daily basis. True friends do not have to have words to tell how they feel, they just know. True friendship is not contingent on gifts, compliments, or extravagance. True friendship rests on the premise of loyalty, respect, and trust. When God sends people into our lives and friendship is cultivated, it is always the kind that lifts us up, encourages us, and gives us strength. It keeps our spiritual compass pointed toward the things of God and our ear attuned to His voice.
Oh, how grateful I am for all the friends God has given to me. I am especially grateful for the fellowship I am blessed to enjoy when my friends and I get together. I still miss the privilege of sitting on Susan's porch at the end of the day and enjoying the peaceful surroundings. However, french vanilla creamer is always in my fridge along with whipped cream and the cinnamon that sits in my cabinet. The coffee will be fresh and hot tonight, seasoned with Susan's special recipe. I'll make a cup, settle in on the sofa, and call Susan. When she answers the phone, I'll laugh and say, "It's time for coffee on the porch". What I will really be saying is, "I need to talk.". I'll do most of the talking, she'll do most of the listening but we both will be thanking God for all that He has done---especially for "Coffee on the Porch".