I’ve wondered why I have a special place in my heart for airplanes.
It’s not that I love sitting in a tiny chair, constrained by the surrounding unfamiliar faces and limited leg room. OR that I love having to climb over multiple people and slip through the isle to go to the bathroom. It’s not the pretzels or unlimited supply of 7up. It’s not even that I have x-amount of time to sit, alone and unknown.
It is that familiar walk down the airplane Jetway- the walk that I’ve take many times, to many places. It’s the x-amount of time that I’m given to transition from one world to the next. It’s on that airplane and in these moments that I sit and reflect on where I was, and where I’m going.
I love how it tastes from the first sip to the last. I love how it [smells] just newly brewed. I love how it looks swirled with just enough milk.
But there is so much more. After spending the summer in Ethiopia, the place where it all began, I learned the ways of coffee. Coffee is not just poured into a little filter, placed inside the brewer, and pressed to start. The beans are slowly roasted by hand, shoveled back and forth by a beautiful girl in a traditional dress. They are crushed by slow, monotonous movements, and funneled into a beautiful wood pot. It is then served in tiny cups, enough for maybe three sips, and enjoyed over popcorn and conversations.
This coffee is not just a drink that produces enough energy to get through the day. It is not generic or impersonal.
It represents people and fellowship, hospitality and generosity.
A popular Ethiopian coffee proverb is: Coffee is not a quick pick-me-up and not a cup of something to grab on the run. Rather, its ceremonious drinking is a time to exchange news and for well wishing with friends and relatives, to express respect to elders, and to appreciate the blessing of life.
I have to admit that often, coffee is something I grab and go. It is something that usually sustains me throughout the day. But is it also something that represents friends and fun, happiness, and memories.
There’s something really beautiful about being empty. Feeling stripped of everything you have, being fragile and so so weak. Standing with open hands but nothing to offer.
This summer was filled with challenges. I was stretched in every which way, pushed to seek out my gifts, and use them to love, give, and serve. Of course, in this, I also received. Three months of Africa, community, and growth led me into a whirlwind of life and a lot questions. I had seen and experienced A LOT and questioned how in the world I was ever going to jump back into this utterly contrasting life. I felt disheveled in the transition and completely mixed up. One thing I knew for sure, was that the heart that led me to the busy, bustling city of Addis Ababa, was the same heart that led me to my third year at Biola. I wanted to give.
My third year at Biola has come with a lasting impact, and I stand here lacking in so many ways. I lack all that I thought I had, yet am gaining understanding of something new…
God can use these empty, open hands in beautiful, and abundant ways.