Coffee Shop Love

The other night I was at a local bookstore with my wife. When we arrived at the bookstore we found a spot next to the coffee shop. We both read for a while, checked emails etc. It was a good way to end a busy weekend.

But, as we were sitting there we were joined by a guest. The guest did not sit down at our table, but he and his companion were in close enough proximity that we could hear their every word (it helped that they both were, at least, 65 and spoke loud enough to be heard throughout the coffee shop). Now, anytime there is an older couple who seems to be in love, it is heartwarming. However, this instance was different than the norm. It was no ordinary relationship

As I sat and listened to the couple converse, I tried to avoid eavesdropping – though not particularly hard – while still maintaining to catch the essence of their interaction. The man spoke with the normal cadence of someone his age, but there was something in his diction that was unique. I didn’t realize what that was until I began to pay more attention to his female companion; her voice, though loud, was shaky and her speech broken. I noticed that in her silence she released noises and that her sentences took more time to come out than his paragraphs. I am not sure if she had Parkinson’s or if it was the remnants of numerous strokes, but it was evident that she was no longer at her full capacity.

What became apparent to me was that this man overwhelmingly loved his companion. I do now know the nature of their relationship, but I know that love was present in their relationship. Even when his companion would get mad at him, for trying to help her, “not paying attention” to her or for some other undisclosed reason his responses to her were continuously loving.

After watching this man love his companion, I could not help but think about both, how I love others and how God loves me. If I were to overlay how God loves me with how I love my wife (who is undisputedly my closest human companion ) I am not sure what concoction of lines and color I would get, but I am sure to see my imperfections highlighted. But if I were to place the relationship of my coffee guest and his companion in substitution, I would expect the lines to be congruent and the colors of similar hue.

I am, of course, not naive enough to think that the display that I saw in the bookstore was characteristic of their entire relationship, but even in the public display of love I am encouraged. I am encouraged (and thus challenged) to see a display of the love God wished for us to have. A love that is patient, kind, long-suffering, not easily angered. A love that is everlasting.

I pray everyday that God further enables me to dethrone my humanity and make him Lord over my actions and thoughts. I desire love as beautiful as I saw in the coffee shop. More profoundly, I desire a love as perfect as that displayed on Golgotha. The hill where Jesus, the Christ, paid the expiation for the sins of those who “know not what they do”.

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