Humility, or the ending point of being lost, can become the starting point of righteousness.
Life without faith is death. For life, as it was intended to be, is love. Start loving and you'll really start living. There is not other force in the universe comparable to that.
- Carolyn Weber
Setting aside my love for good coffee for a minute (just a minute, okay?), I love coffee shops.
The ambiance of sleek, clean, cosy, and cool interiors including the ambient sounds actually help my focus most of the time. A place to meet other people, talk, read together, write, share stories. Or a place to go alone.
The only thing missing from this ideal environment is books. You may think of a few other items that you would say would be missing, but the whole nature of coffee shops is to reflect, talk, ponder, and conclude on topics of musings.
I marvel at the variety of visitors who frequent coffee shops. From my cosy spot at the table, I can observe relationships, news, kindness, business, and leisure. I can also have a friend meet me and discuss good books over a delicious latte.
While most coffee shops are missing books, I can bring them along with me to solve the problem. In this case, April and I are reading Surprised By Oxford together, and discussing the deep and wonderful thoughts that arise from such a book. It is one of my favourite books, and it's a delight to read it with someone who is so eager to read it and wants to talk through the topics and themes.
Concord Coffee is a lovely place in which to meet for some thoughts and jots. As we flip through some pages to begin to read passages that drew us in, and share thoughts that we had, we sip on delicious lattes and listen to the other pieces of wisdom being spoken. The book is full of deep conversations about the realness of life, relationships, and decisions. Discovering God in a personal way, and what that means. All the questions that come along as a sidecar to that deep faith she comes to know don't always get answered immediately, and the beauty of living the unanswered questions is part of living out that faith.
To me, having journeyed now on my 3rd or 4th reading of the book, it is refreshing to be reminded of these truths that Caro discovers in Oxford. Truths I need to be reminded of. I am joyful as April reads a passage that opens up her eyes to some deep truth. That is what I love so much about reading good books.
These are words that can be shared and mused upon. Oxford always has wisdom to share. Descriptions of my favourite place always makes me smile, and I long to be there in Oxford again. Until that time comes, these memories float back to me with her heartfelt passages that seem to lift off the pages as I read them.
Even Oxford's infrastructure was conducive to contemplation, revelation. Its walls seemed infused with mystery. When I walked through the stony passageways, I often felt voices from ages past murmuring great mysteries. It was tempting to think that resting my head against this stony chest would betray a heartbeat, or by putting my ear to this shell, I could heat the distant but undeniable advancing and then retreating of whispered wisdoms. The walls were saturated with thoughts of endless minds across hundreds of years into the present, like a find chain linked with hopes for the betterment of humankind. (pg. 136)
These words! Exactly how I feel about Oxford!
To sit in our local coffee shop discussing these wisdom-soaked pages in our books is refreshment for the soul. We glide out of there to head to work with a lighter step in our gait because we have driven to the depths of some spiritual truths, remembering God's love is the greatest of all things. And it makes our hearts sing.
There is always birdsong in Oxford (pg. 85)
I reflected on the book several years ago in a previous post HERE.