I'm back in my hometown for the holidays, currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop. The most accurate word to describe this particular coffee shop is "quirky." It is in an old house with cracked walls and drafty windows. There are bookshelves full of used books for sale, though I'm pretty sure 90% of them have been there since I was in high school. None of the furniture matches. And then there are the customers. Oh, the customers are quirky.
I'm sitting in the corner reading a novel. But I had to put it down for a minute to write about a couple that is in the coffee shop with me. Isn't it fascinating what people talk about in coffee shops? I realize I'm guilty of having conversations that should be private, but I don't pay any mind to the people around who are listening. The couple sitting here with me don't seem to mind the rest of us listening in. This coffee shop is especially good for eavesdropping because of the wood flooring. No carpet to absorb the delicious contents of their conversation.
They seem to be on a first date. I know because I've been on several of these in the last year and I know how to identify them. Awkward conversations about family and their jobs. Passing the iPhone over the table to look at pictures. Uncomfortable changes in hand position. Do I put them on the table? On my lap? Should I fiddle with my coffee cup?
They moved on to current events. Good, semi-safe topic, just steer clear of politics. "Did you watch the lunar eclipse?" He asks her. She lets out a laugh and says she was fast asleep. Besides the newspaper showed pictures the next day, why get up in the middle of the night to see it?
This is what prompted me to blog.
My heart hurt a little bit when she said she settled for pictures in the newspaper. I guess that makes sense, after all the eclipse was in the middle of the night. But what about the joy of seeing it for yourself! I cozied up on some patio furniture in my parent's backyard and watched the moon slowly transform, morphing from white to red and back again. I didn't want to settle for some media images. I wanted to see it for myself. Friends back in Austin said it was too cloudy which made me sad for them, but glad I was in Colorado with the clear skies.
A few days ago someone asked me why I decided to enroll in seminary. Experiencing theology for myself was one of the reasons I gave. All my life I've grown up in church and have been fed theology by some well-intending folks. But I wasn't satisfied. Like watching the lunar eclipse with my own eyes, I wanted to read Calvin and Luther and Barth firsthand and figure out what they had to say, rather than take someone else's word for it. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to attend an institution where I am being personally shaped and molded, but at the same time being trained and equipped to serve others who are also hungry for theological answers.
The next lunar eclipse will be June 15, 2011. I pray the skies are clear where you are that night so you can see it for yourself.