Bread and Wine; Chocolate and Coffee

“What’s becoming clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving them things I’ve made with my own hands, come together and are more than the sum of their parts. I love the sounds and smells and textures of life at the table, hands passing bowls and fords clinking against plates and bread being torn and the rhythm and energy of feeding and being fed.”-Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

I’m not sure if I can even explain how excited I was when I saw the package and knew it was a copy of Bread and Wine, uncorrected…unfinished…paperback. I was beyond thrilled. I took it out, sat down right where I was in the Student Life office, and started to read. I could have set and read for hours.

No one else around me shared my excitement or my love for the way God has used Shauna’s books to absolutely shape these past few years of my life and how I view faith.

And, I connect on such a deep level with her new book, that I am excited to share it.

Pretty simple. It’s on bread and wine and life. 

She writes…

“My friend Nancy is a nature person. To know her is to know that the created world–hiking, wildflowers, sunshine–is the tie that binds her to God, that demonstrates his presence to her in the deepest ways. For my dad, it’s the water. The sounds and smells and rituals of life on the water bind him to God in ways that nothing else does. For my husband, Aaron, it’s music. And for me, what I’m learning is that it’s words, and it’s meals.”

And, for me, yes, it’s running. It’s also coffee and dark chocolate. 

It’s the relationships I’ve built through runs and coffee shop dates….

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Hayley and I meet and run..and talk …and vent. It’s real and honest. Our runs together are like a lifeline…to each other, to God.

And, after almost every run, we end up at Karen’s Bakery, or a coffee shop. We meet up with her sweet mom, who also runs. We talk more and vent more…and see God’s grace work, as we calm down, as we enjoy one another’s company.

There is something about having coffee with my mom and talking about life. Or, my brother, which is the way I connect to him. Or, friends. Or, residents. 

I have a deep love and appreciation for the community that happens at coffee shops, for the shops that exist because people love them. 

Shady Coffee & Tea; my favorite. Also, the most peaceful coffee shop. It’s magic.

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And, my mom and I have a deep love for dark chocolate. I’ll search high and low for 90%+ high quality chocolate, then be ecstatic when I find it. And, I’ll have in the morning, afternoon, before bed. There’s never a time when chocolate isn’t acceptable.

But, besides my deep love and appreciation for chocolate and coffee, I love the people that I am connected with because of those same loves. My dear friend, Danielle, and I would meet once a week and get coffee. First, it started as study dates, but when we changed majors, we found that our friendship was beyond living in the same hall as freshman and studying. We’d catch up and chat, about the really hard things, not just surface level check in and out. I’d tell her my struggles, and cry, and apologize for being a mess. She’d listen and give me grace, and give me permission to be upset. And, I’d do the same for her.

Then, we would study. We would be quiet together.

Through those weekly coffee dates, we built a deep friendship. We’d talk about life and marriage and friendship and how God was working. And, this summer, I’m in her wedding. Oh how time flies. Coffee dates turned into a deep care for one another, a sisterhood.

So, as I read Bread and Wine and eat the words up like chocolate (I’m not good at reading Shauna’s books slow), I love that it challenges me to pray and slow down, to enjoy coffee dates and chocolate early in the morning, as I’m reading the Word or blogging, like I am today. 

I’m imperfect and almost incapable of resting. Thankfully, Shauna’s shown she is the same and that you can slow down. You can enjoy cooking. And, resting. And, spending hours at the table or coffee shop with friends. Because, God designed us to do communion with His bread and wine, with one another.

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2 thoughts on “Bread and Wine; Chocolate and Coffee

  1. You are so inspiring, Lauren. 🙂 I wish we lived closer so we could share our love for chocolate and running together! I don’t drink coffee, but I love trying new things! You’ve inspired me to check out Shauna Neiquist, so I just ordered “Cold Tangerines.” I’m excited to read it!

    I can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks in Jacksonville! I hope we are able to hang out some while we’re there! It’s going to be such a great trip with awesome people! I hope you’re doing well, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

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