Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Latte

I had my first latte over twenty eight years ago. At the time my roommate was a dancer and I was a lighting designer for dance. I lived in a building owned by a group of people, all friends and family, a co-op of sorts, most of us artists.

One warm summer night we had a party in the backyard. I wore a fun red strappy dress and we danced for hours to "Thriller." A few months later we had another party ringing in the "ominous" year of 1984, having fun but grateful that life was not really as George Orwell had written about.

Every morning we ground our beans and brewed our coffee on the stove top in an Italian espresso brewer using french roast coffee beans. In a small pan we scalded milk. The coffee was rich, flavorful, hearty. This is still one of my favorite ways to brew and drink coffee.

Years later, with the popularity of Starbucks, I found myself standing in line to buy my lattes - iced soy latte in the summer and mocha lattes in the winter. And spending a fair chunk of change for a coffee I could make myself. Lately I have returned to making my own coffee breverage.

I spent much of yesterday thinking about the events that have happened during my life time: the Kennedy's, Martin Luther King, Jr., NOW and MS magazine, struggles for equality of all people. In 1984 no one owned laptop computers and hardly anyone had a computer. The internet wasn't even conceived of. My husband and I were given our first cell phone in the late 1980's, part of his job - the phone was huge! Digital camera's, flat screen televisions, hybrid cars, a whole new world has evolved. I never imagined, in 1984, that I would one day be ordained an Episcopal priest. I had no idea that I would have on-line friends I had never met and an entire community of women religious formed on the internet....Or that I would be working hard on a project about language, creating a guide for healthy conversations about our experiences of God/self/others, and thinking about how our words really do matter.

My life was simple in 1983 and 1984. Life feels much more complicated today. Life IS more complicated. The dreams of those who imagined a healthier world, one that embraced equally, all people, have challenged the infrastructure of our society, for the better, I think. Over the years the dreams have been shattered and reconstructed. A simple life is more difficult to create if one wants to be invested in the complexities of the world we live in. As Christians, as people of faith, we are called to be invested in the world around us. Perhaps the call itself is simple, even with the complexity. It's a call for compassion, self awareness, other-awareness, kindness and love. It is not a call to conformity or uniformity, oppression or suppression. It's about justice, it's a call to live with our differences in ways that enables each to grow and become better because of our relationships with others.

For example, here is a comment from Facebook, just to stress the point:
"Last week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African American President." ~ Mark Shields, PBS (via Susan Russell)
and this one:
"When you listen generously to people they can hear the truth in themselves, often for the first time." ~Rachel Naomi Remen

Maybe it's about getting back to basics? Like coffee home-brewed -  basics. Maybe remembering to listen, with intention, listening and speaking from the heart, can blend humanity into something richer?

8 comments:

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

back to basics... a phrase our ladies used recently in their bible study. they feel strongly we've wandered too far from basics...

the disconnect-culture we live in, really does suck the energy right out of us. i'm glad i have the dogs to help ground me... even when i don't realize that's what they're doing. (uhm... my coffee maker needs a trip to the ER.)

Mary Beth said...

Relationships. It's all about building relationships, and that means knowing one another.

I loved that FB post about the diversity of folk involved at Tucson...

Thanks for the reminder that we will receive more than we could ask or imagine!!

Wendy said...

I love that quote.

And I go back and forth with making my own coffee beverages. There is the solitary latte in the morning as I sit in the quiet while everyone else is still asleep and gather myself...there is playing barista and making fancy coffee drinks for family and friends...and there is meeting a friend at a coffee place halfway between our homes where we can talk undisturbed. It's all good.

angela said...

You are so right. Looking back I didn't dare imagine that I'd even have children or that I'd feel called to pursue ministry. And the technology. I'm glad it's here, but it does put even more layers into things.

Hey, I have to admit I had my first ever latte last Friday. At a local cafe that serves locally roasted coffee. Had no idea what was in it. It was awfully sweet but very frothy. Amazing what's possible with coffee beans and sugar.

Terri said...

HC - I'd be suffering if my coffee maker had to go to the ER...

Mary Beth- yes, it is ALL about relationships built on trust, listening, sharing...

Wendy - one of my favorite things to do is meet my friends for coffee - I do LOVE going out for a cup....but on my way to work in the morning or on an average day I can make my own coffee, keep it simple.

Angela - I am grateful for the technology of the world today, my lifeline....even as it complicates life...

revkjarla said...

love all of this reflection.
thank you for it.
xoxo

Lisa :-] said...

I wish our society really was as inclusive as the Shields quote seems to indicate...

Diane said...

I LOVE the Rachel Remen quote. reallllly. thanks for sharing it.

and everything else.

I want to visit where you are.

I would love to have a long talk.

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