Over the week-end I received an email from Beka, a long-time blog reader and self-professed Chick-fil-A addict from north of the Mason-Dixon line letting me know she’d be in town this week for a conference and hoping we could get together for a cup of coffee.
After checking out to make sure there were no outstanding warrants or TRO’s against her… As I am never one to turn down an opportunity to get out of the house, I was happy to accept her invitation and we met Monday morning at Jubala, a little coffee joint that’s one of my favorite places to hang in town.
After settling at an outside table with our pitchers o’ joe, we started talking about the usual important topics like blogging, shopping and food (she had Southern fried chicken and okra for the first time the night before – I was so proud) but within a short time the conversation veered to Bigger Things and the deeper we got, the more I was convinced that this encounter was not going to be an ordinary moment in my day but an extraordinary one because this girl wasn’t just any girl, people.
She was a younger version of myself.
If my younger self were petite, had beautiful hair, and knew how to effortlessly wear a scarf.
You know, twins.
I recognized in her the same gypsy spirit that lives in me. I saw a wanderer, a wonder-er, a purpose-seeker, not in a way that implies aimlessness, but a thinker and dreamer who sees the world out in front of her and wants to experience it all and learn and grow and live and wring every bit out of this beautiful gift of life we’ve been given. I looked in her eyes and through them I saw my own twenties, remembering the feelings of trepidation and excitement and adventure as this big old blank canvas sat in front of me, waiting for the brush strokes.
And then, as I am wont to do when faced with this sort of situation, I picked up the biggest paintbrush I could find and went all Oprah on her.
I became obsessed with giving this beautiful young woman (who is totally going to make it in life, by the way, MARK MY WORDS) every little piece of advice that as a now-40-something I felt like I needed to hear at her age. To follow her heart, to trust her instincts, to never stop trying new things, to keep learning, to invest in community.
Y’all, I turned the fire hose on her.
Bless her heart, that is not what she signed up for.
But this exchange was a catharsis of sorts for CPQ – a chance to pour into my mini-me something that I wish I’d had at that age – courage, confidence, faith, and maybe just a little bit of moxie. The funny thing is? Beka doesn’t need it. She’s got it all in spades. It shines all over her face. But in telling her all these things while practically looking in the mirror, it was a lesson to me – that God uses the circumstances and experiences of our lives, big or small, to reveal the strengths that He’s already given us and that we have just to discover. I could see it in her life just as though it were mine and it was so confirming to trace through her how God’s hand has ever been on me at all times – as a young woman just like Beka starting out and now as an older (but to be clear, NOT OLD) woman still making her way.
I came away from our time together with a fresh perspective on God’s equipping and a stronger trust that He is able to complete whatever work He’s begun. And without sounding psycho and like I’m the one with the temporary restraining order, I’ve also come away with the urge to adopt Beka as the baby sister I always wanted. I’m so excited to watch what God’s going to do with her as she follows His leading. Her blog is titled beka stays (and if you click on the link, it tells why) but I think she’s going to have to change it pretty soon. I look at her and all I can think about is what God is whispering in her ear and what I’m chanting in my head as she steps into this crazy thing called life.
“Go, Beka, go.”
Have a nice day.