|A latte from one of my favorite places:
Local Coffee on Broadway in SATX
For me, my “third space” has always been a coffee shop. Not a Starbucks, but a local shop bent on bringing joy and quality ingredients to it’s patrons. There is nothing inherently wrong with Starbucks, they are great at what they do, but they aren’t what I consider a “third space” for anyone who actually thrives off of having a place to spend copious amounts of time.
My favorite thing in the entire world is to read a book, chat with friends, or write in my journal in a coffeeshop. The big windows, the smells, the music, the perfection of the delectable art of acidic & deeply rich espresso being shrouded behind sweet foamy angelic milk, the conversations you overhear, the way that when you sit in a coffeeshop you are a part of a silent club that stands beside you to say “You are serious about your coffee: We are comrades.”
Some examples of my past “third spaces” are (the old) Mill Street Coffee in Cleburne, Texas, The Foundry on McCullough (now closed) and Local Coffee on Broadway, both in San Antonio. There are other places I have visited that offer up the same elements, but because of either time or distance I have not had the chance to thoroughly invest in becoming a part of the communities they hold. (Even the small town I live in has recently opened up a small coffeeshop, but it offers none of these elements and the local Burger King actually has a more inviting atmosphere and menu, though I do on occasion give them business.)
So, to many of you who do not understand my predilection for perfectly roasted beans from thousands of miles away being hand crafted before my eyes with fresh milk you will think this is ludacris, but I have already researched my future coffeeshops. I have even reseached what tram I will have to take to get there! From my devices thousands of miles away I can spot where I am most likely to spend time at. I will be living within 20 miles of Manchester in less than a year and because of its size I have found a hearty number of promising looking shops, and even some chains, in the metropolitan area that I am very excited to check out. Things can obviously change when I arrive, the location, the people, the airy and roomy nature of the establishment, the beans, the couches, the lack of seating, all can change when you finally visit a shop. The internet is very helpful because shops can post information, but nothing can equate to stepping foot inside a shop for the first time.
So what they heck is the point of all of this rambling about coffeeshops? Well, to keep it simple: I am excited.
To me a “third space” can actually be much more than a place to spend time focusing on me – on my reading, or writing, on my enjoyment of a latte, but it can become a place of healing. I am excited to open up this new chapter in my life, and the number one way I find community and inclusion is by getting into a daily rhythm and finding a “third space” to call my own.
When I go into a coffeeshop I already know that the people occupying those stools and chairs, couches and chaises, have one thing in common with me: they too appreciate the simplify of enjoying a latte paired with a perfect pastry. They too understand the importance of finding a place of comfort and habit.
We may not agree on much more– we could have differing opinions on the acting credibility of Nic Cage, (as a student of modern film studies I can tell you Nic Cage is a gem) or who would win in a fight: Paula Deen or Anthony Bourdain? Maybe they are Muslim, Agnostic, maybe they believe in Nirvana (the band or the Buddhist quasi-afterlife.)
Yet even with these people congregating together from many many walks I have yet to hear a quarrel between patrons. In San Antonio I was always especially surprised by this, I lived in a radically diverse area called Alamo Heights/Olmos Park that housed yuppies, young liberal Trinity students, poor SAC students, and even military personnel, yet never once did I hear anyone be anything but polite to one another. Au contraire, I often heard polite subdued conversations between tattooed hipsters and staunch clean cut career military men sharing anecdotes from their lives.
Locally owned, small business coffeeshops are the only place on the planet, I feel, that can support this unique ecosystem. Even most bars, diners, and delis cater to a demographic, in my experience, only coffeeshops offer up a wonderfully accepting atmosphere.
Here’s the point guys:
In just 150 (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!!!!) days I will be moving. I will be starting a brand new exciting wonderful hopeful new chapter in my life, but I will be doing so much more than that. I will be following God’s will for my life. I am not going on a short “mission trip” where I meet and greet strangers then go back home to my American life, I will be uprooting and moving to a completely new place. I will be living with strangers. I will be eating foods foreign to my American palate. I will be leaving my old life in the dust.
One thing I won’t be leaving behind: the well-spring of life I have received through salvation. That just baffles me, and it should you too. I am leaving my “comfort zone” yet I am continually reminded that my comfort shouldnt rely on tangible, physical things, but should come only from the security I find in trusting God and his perfect will for my life.
So while some things may be very different for me in the UK, I take comfort in the fact that God is the God of everywhere, and God’s love and comfort can’t be evaded.
And that lattes are ~basically~ the same world wide.
I am so excited about this opportunity, and I am so glad that I am at a place in time and in my life that I can travel so freely.
Please continue praying for me as I get closer and closer to my departure date. I will be doing some fundraising in the coming months and I would love to have you all come along side me to support the call God has placed in my life to show and spread the unrelenting love and grace of Jesus Christ, our LORD and savior.
Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
For each day he carries us in his arms.
20 Our God is a God who saves!
The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death
Psalms 68 v 19-20