It was just after dark before I felt the need to sneak away to find Jesus.
My college dorm was full of constant chatter and slamming doors and I felt closed in by the noise.
I packed my bag and quietly slipped out the door. The cool Greensboro air rustled my hair and turned my cheeks pink. I hurried across the campus, barely keeping a watchful eye on my surroundings until I reached the glass door of the coffee shop. It was there that I paused and caught my breath and pushed open the door to my sanctuary.
The espresso machines frothed coffee and syrups were poured as people ordered their drinks. I ordered just plain coffee and stirred in skim milk and 2 sweet-n-low and slid into the quietest corner I could find in the shotgun style building. My hands ran along the full surface of the table, trying to memorize the sacred ground. I sipped coffee and looked long and hard and deep into the faces of those around me. I watched the baristas make drinks and wipe down tables. I got lost in the dim lights and walls filled with someone else’s beauty. Broken pottery glued back together and mixed media pieces filled the entire space and I saw Jesus everywhere I looked.
After a few moments of breathing in Jesus, I pulled out my bible from high school and reached back into my bag to pull out Oswald Chambers. I poured over both and soaked in every word with every sip of coffee. I was lost for hours and found at the same time. I saw Jesus and I let Him see me in the dim lights and haze of roasting coffee beans. My fingers scratched out journals of me and Jesus and apologies and beggings for more life change.
I stayed until closing and then made my way back across campus to the dorm filled with good girls. I unlocked my door and plopped my bag onto the desk and crawled into bed with my clothes still on.
I smelled like coffee beans and Jesus and I couldn’t bear to take Him off.
For 4 years, I made my way to Tate Street Coffee House almost everyday. I would run in before class at 8 in the morning and then I would wander downtown after nightfall to grap a latte. My soul cried out for more of Jesus and I found Him in that coffee shop. It was the place I landed to do business and cry and pour out the darkest places of my soul on paper. It was my Jesus place. My sanctuary for my entire college career.
This afternoon, as the rain beats against the house, I long to sneak away to the first place that I can remember really encountering Jesus.
I want to curl up in a corner and breathe in Jesus-the Jesus I knew in college. The Jesus I knew before I knew Thad and kids and the ministry.
I want to know Jesus like I used to. I want to scratch out apologies and beg Him for more time to do life right.
And more than anything, I want to smell like Him.