a cafe, a latte, a friend

{photo credit}

Both hands free, no little feet traipsing behind me, no little heads to check are clear of it’s swing – I open the door.

They’re home, all of them, and I’m here and good grief this is liberating. I eye the cake display. I debate between the lemon blueberry cheese cake and a red velvet cupcake. Or maybe I don’t need either. I am getting a coffee, after all, and dinner is not that long past. But there’s only one piece of cheesecake left and about 4 people in front of me.

I tell myself “If it’s still there when you ring up, indulge.”

From the side entrance, she comes around the back of the cafe. This friend of mine, available at a moment’s (ok, 15 minutes’) notice for a one on one date on a Sunday at 7pm, we have a funny story.

Once college classmates, yet I could not have picked her from many the other 600 people with whom we graduated. Funny to think we once sat on a too-small stage for an entire commencement ceremony some 800 miles from here and didn’t know each other at the time.

We hug.

Then we hum, haw, what drink to order to go with my… I see the empty spot where the cheesecake once was. O well. Medium latte it is, but with only one shot, lest I don’t sleep tonight. She has cocoa, smart choice. I buy.

The barista brings out our drinks and we laugh giddily together; both glasses towered impossibly high with whipped cream.

Corner booth, straight down the wall from the corner booth we sat the first time we met. We slide in.

Then, I had my first baby with me, 4 months old. Walking up she looked familiar, but as we got to talking, it was unlikely that we had ever crossed paths at our alma mater. We probably wouldn’t have crossed paths here in Minnesota either had it not been for the internet.

We’re not allowed to talk kids this time, though and I stated that from the beginning (for my own sake). This is my time. They are home and I am here and I can breathe. I attempt a sip of my latte and get a face full of whipped cream instead. We discuss cars. There’s always something with cars, isn’t there? We discuss houses and real estate  markets and interest rates. We discuss the goings ons of mutual friends. We laugh about… well, I can’t tell you. Slowly, in creeps the topic of theology.

Her email was sweet and appreciated. She said that she lives in the Twin Cities and, ‘I love reading your blog! My husband and I went to Wheaton, too. What year did you graduate?’ I replied, shared our majors, dropped some possible mutual friend names. Then on a whim I asked if she’d ever want to meet up for lunch with a cute baby boy and maybe his mama.

A youth pastor and a fellow alum, I thought her a good person to bounce thoughts off of about a recent sermon at our church. It got under my skin in that way that sermons can when something doesn’t align with your own doctrine, your own understandings and grasping at the mystery of it all.

I make headway on my whipped cream.

She didn’t think I was crazy for asking if we could meet (after she confirmed that she was not, in fact, an axe murderer, of course). Lunch it was, I picked the cafe, she picked the corner booth. We talked life after college, husbands, Minnesota weather, blogging, and I nursed my baby. An immediate friendship was born.

We talk out hypotheticals.

“If God regretted it, then did He have foreknowledge of it? And if He had the foreknowledge of it but knew that He would ultimately work it together good, would He regret it?…”

“And if His big-picture-Will for our lives is to bring Him glory, highest glory, how detailed does His will get? Was there someone else I could have married within His will? Does He care if I live here instead there? Should I wear a blue shirt today?”

Two years later, I still have a 4 month old, but tonight he waits for me at home. My once 4 month old nursling is now a brave, strong 2 year old. Iron sharpens iron as our thoughts roll over and under and through the ways that are not our ways. I love these conversations. Finite minds pondering the infinite.

Same cafe, new booth. Same friends, new depth of friendship. Same God, new understanding.

Funny how God works, isn’t it?

Just Write

18 Responses to “a cafe, a latte, a friend”

  1. Amanda

    Beautiful, both of you, and our God. :) I’m so glad the two of you met, and that I get to be friends with you both too. :) It’s amazing how God puts all the pieces together. (O, and I love these moments: “We laugh about… well, I can’t tell you.”) :) xoxo

  2. Janelle W.

    I know who you are talking about and this makes me smile. I like her, too. I don’t know her that well, and we live far away, but I’m hoping she can become a better friend over time (we’re facebook friends AND follow each other on twitter, so it means we’re BFFs, right?). She went to high school with my husband, who will be an usher at a wedding you should be attending in October.

    So glad she was able to be there for you when you needed it :)

  3. Heather of the EO

    What I love about this is that I feel like I was by your side, standing there looking at cheesecake and then sitting there talking about God. I gobbled this. Like I want to gobble cheesecake.

    Thank you.


  4. Jon

    That explains Sunday night better. This is a great piece of writing.
    Note to other comment readers/writers: Forgive me if I’m the only male reading a “mommy blog” but Allison has a great way of drawing me in with her writing (and the fact that she writes about mutual friends).

  5. Erin

    Lovely. It’s funny how life works. You weren’t meant to meet her in college, but you were meant to cross paths eventually.

  6. Helen Davies

    Allison-just wanted you to know that my hubby has been away from home for ten days. He ‘accidentally’ read your blog cause goggle chrome as auto linked it cause I read it so much! He just told me what a wise lady and good writer he thinks you are which is truly amazing considering he usually thinks that what I read is a load of girly rubbish! Keep up the good work!

  7. Megs

    Beautiful. . . I grew up in Wheaton and now live on the East Coast. It is very interesting how paths cross each other. I attended college on the East Coast and one of my friends from college happened to live in Wheaton for a few years. He was a year older than me and it turns out he went to the same elementary school as I did. He was in 1st grade and I was in kindergarden. I remember pulling out my kindergarden yearbook and finding his picture.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  8. Tab

    Written lovely.
    I’m jealous of this. I desperately need a friend who can be available within 15 minutes for a coffee and conversation for those times when I need to (said with love) escape the littles and their daddy. You are a lucky lady!

  9. melissa @ the pleated polka dot

    i love this!! i love the questions you and your friend were able to ask and discuss. moments like this over a warm cup of coffee are the most refreshing to me. i walk away more thankful than before that god is here and is working in my life.



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