It shuffled silently through the undergrowth, the stench of its breath illuminated like mist under a cold full moon. I could almost feel the darkness within it as I hid, trembling in the tree trunk, heart bursting in the fear of being found. It wandered past slowly and I exhaled my relief. That was when he stopped, turned, and looked directly into the darkness where I crouched.
There are many things in life which can leave us feeling paralysed in fear: other people, job insecurity, terrorism, etc. Fear has this way of making us feel helpless, and so we hide. We hide our true selves. We lock ourselves in the inside of our bodies and we hope that no one will see who we really are, or what we really feel.
What if we’re not meant to live that way? What if the story looks more like this:
It shuffled silently through the undergrowth, the stench of its breath illuminated like mist under a cold full moon. I could almost feel the darkness within it as I stood before it, heart bursting in fear, yet determined to slay this beast once and for all. It wandered slowly and menacingly towards me. I exhaled my determination to stand my ground. That was when he stopped and looked directly at me in the moonlit darkness where I stood. I stood silent as a sentinel, staring him down, refusing to be the first to look away. We were like statues, cold and hard in the night until just when I was going to loose my stare, he lowered his head, turned and walked back into the darkness from where he came.
Sometimes you need to face what you fear. Sometimes you need to find out that you are stronger than you think. It’s not easy; it doesn’t mean you don’t feel afraid, but it does mean that you don’t let fear shackle you and hold you down as helpless.
May you find the strength to stand your ground, look fear in the eye, and put fear in its place.
The sun is shining on Harrogate today and I can hear the morning coffee call. Responding to the call I step into my local independent coffee shop. I’m greeted by the owner and the barista, both of whom are bright and cheery. The welcome is warm and authentic.
This place is a little treasure trove of coffee in the centre of Harrogate. The vibe is relaxed, and every time I walk through the door I have the urge to be creative – it’s the leaidback inspiring conversations and vibe that does it for me. I can imagine John Keats travelling here from Hampstead Heath just to sit and write great poetry. If I had the time that’s what I would do, but I need to move on to work most days.
I order a skinny latte with an extra shot, asking about the beans on offer today. The barista passionately describes the Nude and Volcano beans, describing them with such detail that I can almost smell and taste them! I opt for the Nude (The Volcano is an excellent choice if you prefer an espresso).
As he makes my latte the barista continues to talk about the coffee (he loves this job!) and before I know it I’m talking about how my love for coffee was birthed: Writing regularly in a coffee shop that didn’t mind me sitting for a few hours with a notebook, pencil and coffee. We wax lyrical about how much better paper is to screen reading and writing, and about how pen on paper is becoming a lost art and habit. And then my latte is ready.
I thank him for the coffee and fine conversation and I walk out feeling inspired. Walking round the corner I take the lid off the coffee, stop and inhale deeply. The scent drifts up, filling neural pathways with positive thoughts and messages: I feel happy, and the coffee smells like heaven. I am drawn back into memories of quiet afternoons writing with a coffee and I have this sudden impulse to write. Ironically, I have no notebook with me today!
As I reflect on this morning’s experience it struck me that I had entered a highly creative environment: the barista is a creator, forming a unique coffee with each cup crafted. Creativity (like the scent of good coffee) permeates an environment and has a viral affect upon us. In short when we see creativity it sparks the desire to be creative within us. I’m reminded that we were born Nude and made by a creative God. With his thumb-print on our souls his creativity permeates us and allows us the ability and opportunity to unleash our creativity. Perhaps all we need to unleash creativity is a creative barista and the viral effect of a good coffee.