I like to slide in and slowly curl up in a booth. Preferably, the one in the back, away from the door and people. Not too bright and not too dark. I really like the one in the corner; you know… the one with the window.
Windows really are the best kept secrets. Especially the ones in our homes and the one in our soul. Sometimes, restaurants can be suffocating, but never the ones with plenty of windows.
I would order a piece of New York Style Cheesecake off the menu. Plain. No toppings and no chocolate. Nothing fancy. Just a slice of rich, creamy cheesecake with a thick, graham-cracker crust.
Oh, and I almost forgot… Coffee.
No cream and no sugar, just black please.
We’ll catch up on life. You know, the chit-chat of yesterday. As our coffee cups rest gently into the table, the noise of conversation will drift up and down with the people. The talk of memories, that are so easily depicted in photo albums, are surprisingly alive and vibrant here. Only it’s different, life is now heard and seen through the remarkable art of conversation. The details, the nuances, the “ohhh – that’s so great” remarks that fill up the space between you and I and make corner booths come alive with smiles and tears.
And then – in the blink of an eye – our dessert has arrived. Twenty minutes of sitting, fumbling, ordering, drinking and catching up seems to fly by, just-like-that.
I take a peek and look out the window. There’s the cutest little family walking by… Reminding me that life and time are still moving in precious moments.
Now that I’m settled and comfortable with cheesecake and coffee, I would lean in and tell you the good stuff. Quickly going over my past year and what a journey it has been. But mostly, I would you what’s on my heart. The good, the bad, the hard, and the fun. All of it.
Last year I wrote a blog on my birthday. It was about me and God and God and me. How I thought that sitting and writing at a church on a Tuesday was odd. Like I had more of God’s attention on a Tuesday at church than on a Sunday. Or that maybe, it was the other way around?
I remember understanding, for the first time in a long time, that I was God’s masterpiece. A work of art in progress. And how desperately I wanted the next thirty years of my life to be so very different than the first.
So here I am. With you. Writing again on my birthday. And I just can’t help but get a little choked up, and smile, and cry, and tell you how great a year it’s been.
A Heart-Deep great kind of year.
And just – Thank You.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for following and making some space for my words, every now and again. Thank you for the likes and emails and encouragement. ALL of it is stunning. For every bit of it, Thank you.
You know, people say that people can’t change. But I don’t think that’s true. We all are changing, every-single-day. Those choices and decisions we make in a solitary day, keep adding up. We grow and we become and we evolve. It’s just the matter of what exactly we are becoming that’s important.
Mold me, mend me, break me, and renew me has been the single most common prayer I have uttered and requested this past year. As it’s my birthday today, I can tell you that there’s no better gift than molding and mending, breaking and renewing.
God is teaching me, guiding me, and walking right alongside of me. Mostly through His Word at my scratched up dinner table, through prayers of doubt and shame and joy and peace, through church, through my journal, through school and through this space.
So, besides saying “thank you” (from the bottom of my heart kind of thank you), I just want you to know that people do change and can change. The grace of God knows no boundaries, is not limited by time or space, and is forever available.
Jesus is always looking and searching and wanting to take up space in your soul.
Go ahead, take a peek.
Look deep into the window of your soul.
Yes, you are a masterpiece. Created by God’s amazing artistry and workmanship.
You are loved beyond measure.
You are a child of God.
Do the decisions and actions you make, every-single-day, reflect that truth?
I sure hope so friend. And I just want to encourage you, not through guilt or shame or whatever other weird techniques Christians use sometimes, just purely because of the hope and joy and love I have gotten to experience this past year – this amazing Heart Deep kind of year.
I want you to have that too.
Right after we settled the bill, I would surprise you with a gift.
Yes, it’s a book. I know you already knew it, but you should read it anyway. There’s a journal and pen and note in the bag too. Read your Bible first (like an everyday kinda thing), write down some thoughts and prayers, some worries and dreams. Then eventually, read the book. It’s called, Soul Keeping: Caring for The Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg.
As we get up from the table, grab our belongings, and start to head out to our car, I would tell you the same exact thing that Dallas Willard told John Ortberg:
“You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe. That’s the most important thing for you to know about you. You should write that down. You should repeat it regularly”
A hug and a wave goodbye.
Until next year my friend.
Another birthday, another year, another corner booth with a window.
It’s so good to see you again.