i’m sitting at my same table at broad river coffee company. it’s been four months since i’ve been home. and home, this week, is as close to perfect as it can get. it’s fall, it’s sunny, and the leaves are beautiful. chicken salad from smiths, and cheerwine in the soda dispenser at the local restaurants, and small town friendly at her best. tree lightings and Thanksgiving night shopping and friendship and family and life. and coffee. or, in today’s case, white hot chocolate, in one of my favorite places in the entire world…my favorite coffee shop.
i fell in love with coffee in high school. i fell in love with the idea of coffee shops my first year in college. there’s something so nice about going someplace that smells so good, with wooden floors (always), and mood lighting, and dark paint, and good music, and just…writing. or reading. or studying.
but broad river is different. it’s the closest coffee shop to my hometown. ten minutes away, in a small college town, on the main street. i discovered it while in high school. i fell in love with it while in college. it was the place i could come to escape, use wireless internet, chat, drink coffee (or carmellos, or white hot chocolate like today, which always always always reminds me of Boston).
but broad river is also the first place i ever talked theology. where i first asked someone deep questions about my faith, and realized there weren’t always tidy answers. c.s. lewis and good music and pat conroy and writing and wondering and discussions on predestination, and is the republican party really Jesus’ party? i might have crushed on all the cute college guys in the coffee shop, as a high schooler or a freshmen in college…but really, it’s the place where i fell in love with theology. i just didn’t know it.
and so it seems fitting to come back to broad river. i had lunch in forest city with a friend today, and tried to write in a coffee shop there, on main street. it was too bright, and too noisy. it smelled good, and it was beautiful, but it wasn’t…home. so i packed my car, drove ten miles, found a parking space, ordered the white hot chocolate, and unpacked my computer, to sit at the same seat, under the same light, where i began so many years ago, and write that one last sermon (probably?) for seminary.
what a journey it has been. this seems to be the perfect place to turn the bend and head toward the end of one season, and beginning of another.