It was January of 2020. I had started my New Year by announcing through social media that I had recently gotten divorced, moved to a new place, and started a new job. I thought “2020-when everything comes into focus” was going to be my mantra. I had visions of my new career, house, and status as steps towards sweeping up the debris of my past and putting my goals into sharp focus. 20/20 is perfect vision, get it? Clever, right?
Little did I know what a blinding shit storm 2020 was going to be.
It started off pretty cool with the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, but then it all went south. Schools closed. Events cancelled. Not a lot about my life changed when the pandemic began. I was working at a job deemed essential. My children went to virtual learning, but I was blessed in that I had family that could step in for childcare. In my comfy white skin, I was able to keep on going as if nothing changed. But everything had changed.
We were soon met with a raging health crisis, economic fallout, and racial injustice- all of it growing exponentially. I discovered that our healthcare system was even worse than previously imagined, that my life and education had been completely whitewashed, and that half of our country had spun down a very dangerous rabbit hole of irrational beliefs that colored their politics. People couldn’t breathe. Some because of a pandemic that ravished their lungs. Some because a cop had a knee on their neck. Others because of a small piece of cloth they were asked to wear around their mouth and nose to protect others. The words “I can’t breathe” were shouted in hospitals, protests, and at cops on the steps of state capitol buildings. And even as that was going on, half of the world pretended none of it was happening.
I just kept doing what I was doing- praying, meditating, writing. I started my day in gratitude for the job I had and ended it with gratitude for food on my table. I knew that inside my house, my world was good, but the minute I stepped outside my bubble, I was leveled by the amount of pain and suffering people were experiencing. I couldn’t control what was happening out there, but I could control how I responded. I could control my actions. While sheltering in place, I learned a lot about myself. About who I am in the quiet.
I learned that I like the quiet. A lot. I learned that I liked puzzles. That I am an introvert. Well, an introvert with extroverted tendencies. I learned that I loved playing board games with my boys and that I missed seeing my mom regularly. I did not miss huge, public events, but I marched in a BLM protest. I gave to politicians, but was grateful to not knock on doors. I didn’t miss traveling or traffic, but I did miss eating at restaurants with my family and having coffee with friends.
Yes, that. In my little privileged experience of the pandemic, this is what I craved the most. One on one, genuine connection with friends. Nothing fancy, just a latte and some laughs. Or a tea and some tears. A time and place to feel seen and heard.
I began to realize this when two friends had come in town for a funeral. Although the occasion was awful, it was the first time I had been in physical company with friends I really love and care about. The day after the funeral, they came over to my house for coffee and breakfast. We elbow bumped and I thought my heart would melt. Real connection with people that have known me for decades. As we reminisced about our friend who had passed, on our relationship over the years while the soundtrack of those days played, we felt it. We all had missed just being ourselves in the company of a friend. (In this case, two friends.) After our morning together, I was inspired to contact other special people in my life. That if I couldn’t meet them in person, I would connect with them over zoom. I would use it as an opportunity to remind them just how unbelievably amazing they are and to make an offer of my support during these horribly strange and difficult times.
As I was contacting the people I wanted to connect with, I found myself slow waltzing with the past. I would think on friends and the special conversations we had and almost all of these moments had been at a café, a Starbucks, an AA meeting, or a friend’s home, over a cup of coffee. Conversations that were life changing, heartbreaking, path affirming, soul inspiring. I started taking notes about all of the magic made and lessons learned while connecting with a loved one while sipping on a cup of JOE. My life had been a dot- to- dot of conversations over coffee. I wanted to capture these moments, to share these lessons, while quarantining. While going through this life altering event of COVID 19.
I truly believe that something that can seem so trivial as meeting somebody for coffee can be the first note in the orchestration of a dream. I have been inspired and I have inspired. I have taught and I have learned. I have listened and I have shared. About sobriety. About Creativity. About Love. About Magic. About Parenthood. About Protests and Politics. About Spirituality and God. About Dreams and Goals. It’s these conversations and learnings I want to share.
So I’m starting this blog. It will be reflections on these coffee conversations of the past, sprinkled with some random thoughts or rants on whatever may be on my mind that day. It is offered as a way to demonstrate that the ordinary can sometimes become extraordinary. I hope you enjoy.