You may know, but I am slightly addicted to hot, caffeinated drinksand am in love with Coffee Shop culture. Baristas in three different coffee shops around Indy considered me a regular. To top it all off, one of my favorite people is a Starbucks Barista. Discounted drinks and friendly conversation? The addiction continues.
Today I decided to explore Bangkok again. Pick a spot I hadn’t been, and go. Sometime on the BTS I forgot where to go when I disembarked. While wandering the street, looking for my intersection and discreetly trying to unfold my map, I spied a Starbucks coffee. I ignored it and kept walking. Starbucks is overpriced. It reaks of Western influence.”I don’t need that,” I scoffed to myself as I wandered into my favorite British pharmacy.
Then again. Maybe…I walked in and smelled the familiar warm milk and espresso. The barista greeted me in perfect English. The layout and furniture are the same as seen in Indianapolis. The menu is in English and the Baristas work at breakneck speed. Nothing spills and there are no visible ants. Maybe I found home again.
“Ken I hepp yee-oo? Do you want papah menu?”
The sounds overwhelmed me, the smells assaulted me and I considered sitting down right there in sweet relief. Weeping even. It all made sense. I never thought I would miss Starbucks. I don’t LOVE it back home. Who cares?
But I missed it and welcomed it and when the lady asked me my order for the third time I realized I had forgotten what to do. I ordered a salted mocha. With whipped cream.
When I sat down, on an upholstered chair, I picked up my cup, shut my eyes and smelled. Coffee and chocolate. Efficiency and calmness. Peace and comfort. I nearly cried again. When I shut my eyes and listened to the Norah Jones crooning, I pretended I was in the USA. It worked.
That was just Starbucks and a moment of needing home. But maybemaybemaybe….it was a little more. It felt like a hug. It felt kind of like what I envision heaven is in a way. No, SBucks is Not! Heaven! But what is that relatilnship with God? My God anyway.
Familiarity. Acceptance. Welcoming. Being known. Not explaining myself because I am understood. CHURCH is becoming a word I hate. Preparing to sit and listen. Pressing my skirt to sit in an uncomfortable chair for 2 hours and appear sufficiently touched at the appropriate times.
I would rather do “Church” over coffee. With my Father-Friend-God. Deep and profound understanding. Relationships that spur you to go out and do more. Love more. Forgive more. Help more. Accept because you have been accepted. And laughter. Deep and comfortable joy that leaves a grin on your face and a hope and desire to SHARE.
Somehow. Starbucks felt like God. What God, my Jesus, wants to be and is becoming to me.