Let's meet up in diners, I think as I wrap my hand around my lukewarm cup of coffee. I've poured in too much cream again.
I'm sitting across the table from an old friend I knew when we were fifteen, when the world literally revolved around having plans on the weekends. Jesus and I were acquainted then, but when I look back I knew I missed him more often than not. He was steady. I was consistently changing my mind.
My friend and I are in a diner, the kind with red vinyl booths and a black-and-white checkered floor. She is honest, she is authentic, and I am so glad we are twenty-one instead of fifteen.
We're catching each other up on our lives. Most of this has to do with Jesus, and if I were to draw out my relationship with him on a map, you'd get dizzy from the ups and downs. I've dropped Jesus more times than I care to admit. Lent is a good reminder of this. I lean into this season of suffering and grief, and mourn the times I've denied him.
Perhaps -- because it is Lent -- I feel more content in my season of waiting. Or maybe God is working in me in ways he hasn't worked in me before. I picture myself a red-orange tulip, still burrowed deep within the ground.
I look at my friend, her hair framed by the winter light behind her, and she tells me how she was in her own season of waiting. She took a job that involved going to high schools and talking to students about how loved they are, and for the first year she said it was the hardest thing she ever did. She kept waiting for it to get better. She kept waiting for it to not be so scary. Instead of quitting, she waited. Instead of quitting, she kept showing up.
Over spinach and feta omelettes, and rye toast, and soft eggs, something was opening up inside of me that had been closed for awhile.
Waiting -- whatever it is you might be waiting for -- has the capacity to do a few different things to a person. It can make you bitter and sad and longing for what someone else has. (I've allowed it to do this to me before.) Or it can carve and mould and form you into a person who doesn't quit, but instead keeps showing up.
I look at my friend -- and I am so grateful she kept showing up for those high school kids. One year later, her time of waiting is over, and she is a part of a ministry she never dreamed she might be a part of. Those kids needed her to show up for them. I needed her to show up for them, too. If only so one year later she could sit across from me in a diner and tell me she kept trying. Bravery often works best that way, I think. Someone is scared and tries anyway. Then they see someone who's scared and tells them to try anyway, too.
Let's meet up in diners, I think as I wrap my hand around my still lukewarm cup of coffee. Let's show up for each other, even while we're still waiting and hoping and praying. Let's order coffee and get plenty of refills. Let's be authentic and vulnerable and say: I don't think I'll ever have it all together. Let's be scared and brave, all at the same time. We know it's easier to be brave together. Let's be honest and kind, and thank God for the girl sitting across from us in the red vinyl booth.
Let's not quit. Let's keep waiting. Let's show up.
And let's meet up in diners.