I've never been a drinker (of alcohol...poured a lot of diet pop and sweet tea down my throat, but not liquor). And I used to smile when I would hear the theme song to the hit comedy Cheers come on the tv. Everyone wants to go where "someone knows your name."
I've found, as life has carried me along, that everyone needs a place to go. For the last couple of years my place to go has been The Heavenly Brew. It's a coffee shop on East Jackson here in Elkhart. Sharon and Bill Wargo took a little house, that had been a florist shop, and turned it into a warm place with soft lighting, tables and booths, a wood floor, some art work...and great stuff to eat and drink. (I have had a particular affinity for their baked blueberry oatmeal, blueberry muffins, and Better Morning Muffins.) It was a place to go with my books and Bible and magazines. It was a place where I could stop, after working out at the Y, take a deep breath...look ahead to the day...and get centered.
The sweet thing is that Sharon and her staff got to know me. They knew what I would want. They could tell when I needed a tall glass of ice water to cool down after my workouts. They knew me...they were glad to see me...and they did their best to make sure everything was okay.
It's been my sanctuary. My place to go.
The retail food business is always tough, but the last couple of months have been a very rough climate in which to make a dollar. So today is Sharon's last day at The Heavenly Brew. They're closing. Keeping the place going has sort of swallowed up every hour of most days, for Sharon, and it's time to give thanks for this chapter and walk away.
I told her, oneday, that God has something out there...ahead...for her. I told her this has been great...and that she has done something really good. Given us all a good place to stop...to meet friends.
But I've lost a sanctuary and I'm not sure where to go next. I'm looking around.
You might pray for the place I choose. I used to hang out at Java Jungle out on #17 and they closed. Then, I would go to Sips & Scones on #20 for coffee and a place to outline sermons. They closed. Great place but they couldn't make a go of it. Now, The Heavenly Brew is shutting its doors. I feel like the Angel of Death for anyone running an independent coffee shop.
We all need a place, you know?
Wondering what my experience at The Heavenly Brew has to say to those of us Jesus followers who gather in places we call sanctuaries each week?
Jesus, Luke 11 tells us, went off to a "certain place" (TNIV) to pray. A certain place. Everyone needs a certain place.