i. It was back and April and everything seemed so perfect. I was sitting in Panera in the early morning, listening to the conversations of my friends. I looked around at all the people there. There were the men who were meeting for business, the Dad’s bringing their daughters, the friends like us meeting, the workers there, and the lonely girl with the laptop. Mostly I looked at myself. All the people here were running a race, yet all were on a different path. My own race was set before me. In messy handwriting with my favorite pen, I wrote Hebrews 12: 1 on my coffee cup sleeve and felt so free about the race ahead.
ii. When our youth group was in Florida, we’d get coffee every morning. In the morning, I was sitting in the early morning light with my brother and my coffee in my hand. My bible was open to Habakkuk 1, the precious verses that had broke me in the spring. There again, I read them and was broken once more. They’ve taught me to believe that there are really far better things ahead. Always.
iii. I sat in Starbucks in early June with my friend, talking and laughing as we do. Naturally we ended up making a inside joke out a C.S. Lewis quote that I wrote on the sleeve to remember. Sometimes I wonder if I’m weird to always have to write stuff down, but I think about how fast those things are lost.
iv. It had been one of those days when I wanted to just run away. The world was seemingly too big and my heart too full of dreams that were all too high to reach. The person I wanted to be was in my mind and I just wasn’t her. Everything I wanted seemed to be a one-percent-chance in a hundred. With all this flooding in and out, I walked across the Kroger Parking lot and happened to find this sleeve in front of me on the ground. Be that one percent, I wrote. Someone is always that one percent.
V. When I was younger, the only coffee I’d ever have was the kind my Mom made me was the hotel coffee drinks in Nashville. I used to drink them as slowly as possible. In mid-June, I returned to both Nashville and drank my coffee in those same hotel cups that taught me to love coffee while there. It was that summer feel when the sun seemed brighter than ever and the world seemed like a giant movie. I wrote all the inside jokes and classic memories I had inside on that hotel coffee sleeve.
vi. Going to Poland taught me the reason the modern culture loves coffee so much isn’t actually the drink. It’s the feel. The candlelight, fuzzy, peaceful, people-watching, folk music, old book-scented times. The “I can’t read this language, but I’m pretty sure anything on this menu is fabulous” ordering method. Late nights and early mornings and breaks spent in coffee shops, being together. Funny that I only saved one coffee sleeve from the whole trip.
vii. On the last Road trip of summer, I plastered my face against the window with the world passing by. Coldplay was my soundtrack that trip and the past few months flashed by so fast in my mind. With Starbucks tea in my hands and a new sublime world in front of me, I finally said goodbye to the summer.
viii. Today, I went to Panera. We laughed and people walked by, running their races. Everything and nothing has changed since the perfect April. Yet with every lonely thought and tear, I know there are greater things out there. We will still go forth just the same. Just the same, I’m still running and scribbling stories on coffee sleeves.