Do you remember when you were just barely old enough to see over the edge of the kitchen table? I remember as a child so wishing that I were tall enough to look eye level over the counters in the kitchen, and when I finally got a little older and a little taller I felt like I had arrived! I had made it to that place in stature where I could see what was going on above the table tops with the grownups. That didn’t mean I had graduated away from the kids table at Thanksgiving dinner, but it meant that I had reached a milestone and I could pretend I was one step closer to being a grownup.
As an adult now, I find these situations continue to happen to me still. It’s that way with coffee. My parents grew up drinking coffee, and when I first tried it (and consequently spewed it out) I wondered how I was ever going to be taken seriously in life if I couldn’t drink coffee like everyone else did. I tried over and over again to stomach it’s taste, but felt like such a grownup failure. I threw copious amounts of sugar and cream in with the coffee, and still couldn’t come to a place of relationship with it. Everyone told me that I would get use to the taste when I went off to college and had to stay up late studying, but since I didn’t do a lot of late night studying, that never happened. So the draw of Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee isn’t a thing for me.
However, I’m so excited because there now IS a coffee drink that I can order at Starbucks that makes me feel like I can pretend I’m a grownup. I order it when I’m working off site and need a place to work, or I’m heading out of town with girl friends. In reality, it’s really a watered down version of a milk shake, but it has the word Frappuccino in it, so I can look like I’m as cool as the other kids on the playground. Deception is the key. “I’ll have a Grande double java chip with vanilla…and light whip“. Don’t I sound so cool?
It’s also that way with wine. Again, I grew up in a home where my parents had mixed drinks almost every night, and then they learned to appreciate a good wine. As a child, I would dip my little finger into their drink to see what all the fuss was about with these alcoholic concoctions, and my face would contort and my eyes would squish closed at the horrid reaction to the taste. That was probably God’s way of protecting me through my high school and college years, because that reaction stuck with me. Now, as my husband and I have tried new and delicious foods and beverages throughout our marriage, he has come to appreciate a good dark beer, and a good cabernet. Me…I’m such a wuss and a good wine is completely lost on me. Again, though, I’ve learned that with a super sweet Moscato I can pretend to be as sophisticated and fool some people into thinking I’m a wine connoisseur. So our wine rack at home has several bottles of Casteggio Provincia DeiPavia Moscato. Did you see how I did that? I threw all those Italian words out there so you’d think I was very grown up. My friends aren’t so easy to fool. Cindy No. 3 is a wine enthusiast, and she says that Moscato is like drinking cough syrup. Sigh. Again…I’m not fooling anyone.
So how does coffee and wine and trying to pretend like I’m someone I’m not coincide with grace? Well, I think once again it has to do with our constant desire to want people to think better of us than we really are. I get stuck in that place more often than I want to admit, but I’m learning that the grace of transparency is so freeing. My tendency is towards not letting people see beyond a certain layer, because the truth of who I am and my problems will change your mind about who I am. But when I try to go the other way and I let you see my hardships and trials, doors open up and we all realize that we are more relatable to one another when we let you see the foibles and warts. Rather than worrying about what we might lose by others seeing the truth, we find that we gain way more in the transparency.
This has happened to me several times this past year. I ended up sharing some scary details about my life, and lo and behold, the people I shared with were going through the exact same thing. God’s grace in action.
I’m no Mother Teresa, but I want to be more relatable to those around me. It’s the small things that speak love and encouragement into another’s life. A smile. A touch on the arm. A compliment. A hug. A hand up. We don’t get national recognition for those kinds of small things, but it doesn’t make them any less valuable or important. They add up and matter to the people who receive them, and they make us way more relatable. They break down barriers and let people know that we aren’t any less needy than they are. That we are bumbling through this life just like they are and no one is any better than the other. It allows me to be free to be me….a cracked pot that’s leaking and I’m paddling like crazy under the surface just to make it until dinner time. Me, who spews out coffee and drinks cough syrup. Me, who is flawed and unpolished. And perhaps there’s someone out there that is the same as me and has no idea what a Iced Half-Caff Ristretto Venti 4-pump Sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce Soy Skinny Latte is. I mean really!
It’s in the pouring out of yourself that you find Jesus. It’s in the giving grace to others around you that allows others to find him too. So I guess I’m getting closer to being a grownup and I don’t need to pretend anymore. And I’m OK with drinking sweet wine (hence the picture above that hangs in my kitchen) so I guess you can be a grownup and still like sickeningly sweet beverages. But please don’t get me started on margaritas. Yum!
“Do some small things with great love. Help somebody. Maybe just smile….and you will find Him.” ~ Mother Teresa