about this old coffee shop

When I moved to Chicago, a friend of mine sent me a link to the 10 best coffee shops in Chicago.  I made a goal to go to all 10 and blog about each of them.  I think I made it through 2.  In the long run I actually went to 4 of them (I think) but only wrote about 2.
The truth was I was looking for my local coffee shop.  A place to frequent, to learn about the owners and baristas, to sit and do work or dream or meet people.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Starbucks and as a new Minnesotan, I’m learning to love Caribou.  But what I’m always on the look out for is a great local place to spend my dollars.  Local coffee shops are always filled with the most creative types.  From the owners to the baristas to the patrons – you’re likely to stumble upon some amazing stories.  They are a passionate people dedicated to the craft of coffee.  Each one unique in their own way and living their passion out in different ways.
Last week I went to a new coffee shop.  It was a recommendation from someone at church who is proving himself to be more into coffee than I am which also means he can be trusted.  In one of our first conversations he causally mentioned that a certain place had a good cortado.  At that point I knew he was a kindred spirit.
The moment I walked into this place I felt at home.  It was a gloomy day outside and the interior was dark and homey.  Lots of wood, natural light and the perfect music – the type of playlist you find on Spotify that is labeled “Coffee shop vibes.”
I ordered a latte and a scone to stay.  Mounted a stool at the bar within view of the roaster.  Opened up my laptop and started my work flow.  Within an hour I had the outline for my Confirmation lesson and the beginnings of the talks for youth group.  I wrote a few e-mails and then finished up my youth group prep.  At some point I got a cup of drip coffee to taste out their roast.  It was amazing.
People swirled around me, conversations buzzed sometimes interrupted by a swell of laughter.  Community was happening.  I would glance around from time to time watching the people around me.  Wondering about this person’s occupation or that person’s stickers on their laptops – what is that sticker that I see everywhere around here?
After a few hours I left that coffee shop feeling more like myself.  The thing about moving to a new place is that sometimes you feel like you don’t know which parts of yourself to reveal at what point.  Just as much as you’re trying to figure out a new community, they are trying to figure you out.  You’re constantly self editing as you explain yourself to people.  Jokes you’ve always made about yourself  or the world suddenly need explaining.
But sitting there in that coffee shop, surrounded by no one who knew me, I found myself falling into place.  I was doing the things I love most – crafting messages to communicate Jesus’ love to my students and drinking really good coffee.  My physical cup was empty when I dropped it in the tray, but my emotional cup was overflowing.
*title from Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg

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