Today I wept in a coffee shop.

Today I wept in a coffee shop.

The last four months have been both the best of times and the worst of times. I have all of the excitement of starting something new. No limits, nothing is off the table, no traditions or sacred cows. A blank slate. But also the complete lack of funding to go along with that, and then we spent from March to the end of September trying to get our house in NC sold, and then from the end of September until now trying to get a house here bought. The house selling and buying process is stressful as can be – largely because I have zero control over so much of it.  But this Tuesday we close on our new home, and the sheer amount of relief I will feel to be done with that part of the transition is near indescribable.

So today, I was early for an appointment, and so I ducked into the coffee shop. A large coffee, with room for cream, in a latte cup. I am so high maintenance. And while I waited, I pulled out my phone to use their free Wi-Fi.

I scrolled Facebook, and the post after post of the sheer weight of the pain people in my circle – Queer people, Black people, Jewish people, Latinix people, women, and those who work with those populations – are carrying is immense.

Reading the news these days feels less like an exercise in receiving information and more like an endurance test – one that I am failing more often than not. We had three major hate crimes last week. Soldiers are gearing up to go to our borders to prevent refugees from entering. And I was preparing myself to go stand in a prayer service to honor the slain Jewish people from Pittsburgh.

I had to look away from it all, and so I checked my email and received an email from one of the readers of my little newsletter, and he told me he ran into a formerly homeless man who was volunteering in a pay-what-you-can café ran by my former employee, and they had talked about my being gone and that they missed me.

This is one of three or four notes I have gotten in the last week talking about the impact I had when I was in NC, which reminds me each time that I did important, life-saving work there – work I walked away from. It was totally the right time to leave, and the people running it now are doing an amazing job, but for 11 years it was my reason to get out of bed, and I let it go.

I am not finished grieving that.

And so this morning in that coffee shop it all combined to wash over me and I was sitting there on a couch of questionable cleanliness, feeling it all. The pain, the loss, the relief, the joy, the fear. It was all there, and it all came out.

Today I wept in a coffee shop.