I’m sitting at a booth in my favorite coffee shop. Alone, staring into the old white ceramic mug that warms my hands, watching the steam rise, and savoring the rich scent of that dark brew. The morning sun pours in through the frosty window, warming me on such a cold fall morning. The leaves are gone from the trees, leaving bare branches in silhouette against the deep blue sky.
No one else is here. The regulars have all shuffled off to continue their daily lives. The relative silence is welcomed and yet frightening in its own way. Now I’m alone with my thoughts. Is this a good thing?
I sit alone for quite a while. Meanwhile, cooking sounds come from the kitchen. A fragrance like chicken soup wafts by me, and my stomach rumbles. Then I’m back in my own reverie.
A different noise rouses me out of that quiet place, and I look up to see an old man sliding into the seat across from me in ‘my’ booth. I don’t think I know this man, but something of him seems very familiar. Why did he sit in my booth when the place is empty? He has a cup of coffee in front of him, too, but I don’t know how it got there.
I greet him, “Good morning.”
He says not a word, but looks at me with piercing blue eyes. Why do I feel like he knows everything about me? I look at him carefully, and to this day I don’t know how to put into words who or what I saw. This Mystery sitting before me, knowing me fully, said more to me without words.
The Mystery revealed my grief. I had come to this favorite coffee shop to find the essence of my Dad, who had died recently. My heart was heavy.
A profound and very real sense of love overcame me, and tears fell down my face. The morning light from the window found its way into my chest, and I was comforted like a child being wrapped in a blanket and rocked back and forth.
It’s okay. I love you. It’s all going to be okay.
I wanted to stay there forever.
A slight stirring brought me out of this dream like place. I was looking at my coffee, my hands still holding the sides of the mug and feeling the warmth. I breathed in the aroma again, took a sip and let it warm me, and looked across the table. No one was there. The coffee cup remained, steam rolling upward as before, and some of the coffee had been consumed.
Had I been dreaming?
My face was still wet with tears. All my despair and loneliness had vanished.


This one is different, this Scene and Story.  The story is fiction and the drawing is my own.  All of it prompted by a wonderful conversation in which I was asked to imagine what it would be like if the Holy Presence sat down across from me in a coffee shop. I am sharing my post through a link up with Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots and Leon of Sea Blue Lens.  Click on the link to each blog and you’ll see other bloggers have also shared their Scene and Story.

Winter Lights and Textures – Scene and Story

Keeping Warm

Snow on branches…feathery soft, waiting to be touched.

Footprints and shadows in the morning light…

Ice glistening on every single branch, crackling with the breeze…

Even the garden fence is dressed in diamonds.

Every blade of grass in frozen relief, catching drops of sunshine.

Meanwhile, a cat shelters himself in a basket, hoping to keep warm.

Keeping Warm

The weather is the scene and story in our part of the world today.

Today I’m sharing my post through a link up with Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots and Leon of Sea Blue Lens.  Click on the link to Sarah’s blog and you’ll see other bloggers have also shared their Scene and Story.




My parents used to go to the river front and drink coffee, watch the barges go by, and take in views like this.  After my father died in August of this year my mother and my sister and I drove to the river front and enjoyed watching this sunset.  It was so peaceful.  I will never forget that sky, the river, and learning that mom and dad liked to go there to just hang out.

This Thanksgiving is the first one without Dad.  We are doing it differently this year, still with family and good food.  I have no doubt that it will be a good holiday.

What I will miss the most is his prayer just before a meal like the one we will have tomorrow.  Dad would often give thanks.  And many times over the years I know that I am not the only one who would be teary eyed when he finished.  His heartfelt prayers touched us all deeply.

Yes, it will be odd not having him there, but when we did have him with us he blessed us all.  And for this I am truly thankful.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and peace.

Common Ground

In my spiritual formation program at Souljourners I recently sat listening to a talk about various religions and the effects of the Reformation movement.  I was staring at the white board where the speaker had created a table and labeled the columns with the names of some religions, and then told us about certain aspects of each one that had been impacted by major events…all about five hundred years ago.

The goal was to show us how changes affect how we practice our religions, how after a while something gets stale, or in the words of another presenter…things begin to look a little funny.  When that staleness happens, when we don’t like the way things are going, eventually we move and change how we do things.

There have been, and continue to be, many re-formations.

As I looked at that table drawn on the white board, I saw the labels attached to these different ways of practicing faith. I heard the descriptions telling the practices of each one. I became aware that many of the women and men in the room with me at this presentation came from some of these different groups. One group member made the comment that fifty years ago it would have been unheard of for a group such as ours to meet together, let alone meet at the monastery where we sat together that day. And that simple, wise observation had a great impact on me.

What I heard in my heart as I read the descriptions on the board was that in spite of those labels (man made labels) all the people in those groups have one thing in common: belief in the higher power we call God.

That is the common ground that I saw that day.

But there is more to this story.

You, my readers, know from following this blog for a while now, that I seldom, if ever, speak up about politics. And even given the events of this week I am not here to promote my own beliefs upon you or anyone else.

What I do want to speak to is the common ground that we share as human beings.

First, we all breathe air. I had to remind myself of that earlier today when all the stress of this week was really bothering me, and I was trying to rest. The only way I could get my mind off all of it was to remember simply to breathe. Breathe in and inhale all that love, then send out love when you exhale. Those words became my mantra.

We live beneath the same big sky. We stand on the part of the earth set aside as America. The same sun and moon light our nights and days. We are women, men, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and strangers. We want so many of the same “things”, not all of them material. We may have families, we may be alone, we may be religious or not. We are all precious souls, and our lives are important no matter how we look, what we believe, how we vote, if we vote, where we live, our sexual orientation, our income, our military status, homeless or not.

Take away all the labels and look at each other.

Let’s think of what we have in common, and celebrate that. It’s a place to start.  A place where healing can begin.