These friends of mine have been knitted into my life for the "just about everything seasons" in my life overseas. I do make a distinction between overseas friends and my non-overseas friends. If you've never crossed an ocean and lived in a place where you don't know how to ask for the toilet then you have never forged friendships like those that are created while living overseas. They are not better than non-overseas friendships ... they are just different.
Not living close to blood relatives, Sonic, or Kohl's, these girls have seen me through times when I thought I would die laughing, die crying, or die from boredom. I've seen them through times when they wanted to run away, stow away and stay away. We've shared Thanksgiving meals around tables of internationals. We've packed each other up for another move. We've discussed marriage, weight and children. We've gossiped and confessed. We've prayed and sat dumbfounded until an answer came. We've scratched our heads at ourselves and each other. We've been there ... and being there counts ... especially when you live overseas.
This is the reason for the visit ... coffee. Seriously, not coffee for the sake of coffee but coffee for the sake of what it represents. I love that my living in Europe has forever changed my concept of "having coffee". It's not about the roasting of the beans that then become ground into velvet powder that then dissolves into molten liquid to be sipped at just the right temperature that equals pure heaven (OK, maybe a little) but it's the time that is created between hot cups held with warm hands.
Our first meeting was marked by ... coffee. The sitting down together around our beverage and talking ... really talking ... and listening ... really listening. It's the symbolism of being known and truly knowing another.
We structured our day around when the next time was we could sit in a cafe and drink ... coffee. In those moments we discussed our healing from hurts, our hurts that needed healing, and our fears that some hurts would never be healed. We contemplated real life in front of people that wouldn't judge how many times we cried or didn't cry or couldn't cry. We debriefed our positions in our current lives and created scenarios of what our individual futures might, could, or should look like. These were raw and holy conversations that over coffee felt sacred.
Our paths crossed here in Vienna. Now, one lives in Texas while two still reside in Vienna. A trip to Berlin by my Texas comrade created the perfect scenario for us to reunite. Just us girls. Away from families. Away from home. Alone. Alone with time to talk. Alone with time to talk over coffee.
I came away from my weekend in Berlin with something ... that I'm not sure I know how to put into words. It was more than just catching up. It was more than seeing a new European city. It was more than buying new socks. It was about the reconnecting with my friends that when together pulls something out in me that is good and right and whole.
These are the things friendships are made of and I am the better for my friendships. I am also very grateful for God's timing in allowing me to forge these bonds in a season of my life that has been made sweeter for having these friends in it.
These are the good things.