I can remember the night like it was yesterday. The air was warm and yet slightly crisp for a fall night. The lights glistened and the noise of traffic and people filled the city space. I was downtown Toronto with two of my most favourite people in the whole world, my parents.
I realize it’s not everyday that you hear someone talk this way about their parents, but then again, you probably don’t know my parents. I will admit it a thousand times, I’m a very lucky girl. Living independently over the past two years has only served as a big reminder of that. I love my parents but not just because they me life and raised me but because they’re just two of the best people I know. They love to have experiences, they love conversation, they like to travel and they’re bent on not getting set in their ways. They like to think about things, especially their faith. They love to meet interesting people. When we’re together we laugh and we tell stories and we remember why life is such a gift. They are the people who I desperately seek advice from on almost everything, because what they think matters to me, and because too often than not, the words they give me change my perspective on life.
So this past September, on the weekend of my 25th birthday, my parents drove to Toronto for the evening to take me out for a special birthday dinner at Marche. If you’ve never been to this restaurant you really need to go, it’s one of those places you have to experience at least once. So we went and we sat at a cute little table under a large skylight, surrounded by white lights in green trees. And for the next few hours we ate food that made our taste buds spring to life, and by candlelight and white lights we talked and laughed and shared stories. And a while after the first round of dessert coffee, they decided it was time for the second round of coffees. I love having coffee with people; it’s actually one of my favourite things to do. I’ve been on enough coffee dates to know that there are only certain people and certain circumstances that make you entertain the possibility of a round 2 of coffees. And so on this perfect night, we enjoyed round 2 of coffee because there was nowhere else we wanted to be than right there, in that moment, with each other.
This is the memory that I can’t get out of my head. It was everything about that night. It was being in the city, it was the pizza my Mom and I shared, it was watching my Dad’s eyes light up while he ate one of his favourite desserts, it was the feeling I got inside when my parents stood up to go and get round 2 of coffee. It was the realization that there wasn’t anywhere else they had to be; they just wanted to be there with me. Tears come to my eyes as I think about this night and as I consider that this is what it feels like to be loved. This is what it’s like to be fully present with someone. This is what it feels like to all of a sudden realize that those people are not just your parents; they’ve become two of your closest friends.
And when my counselor tells me to close my eyes and think about a memory that makes me feel safe, and seen, and heard, and loved, this is what I think about.
And when my mentor talks to me about Jesus just wanting to be present with me, this is the memory that I compare it to. Because if this is what it’s like for my parents to just want to be with me, then what might it be like for my Heavenly Father to just want to be with me?
I don’t know if my parents know just what that round 2 of coffees meant that night, but for me that second cup of coffee was a spiritual experience in every way.
The Kindred Spirit