January 28, 2021

Spark and Steam

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Through the hiss of antique silver espresso machine reverberating around the high-windowed room of a downtown café, brick and mortar building, I shrug off the cold. Everything seems to sting these days, even when I’m nestled in the safety of my favorite place in a city that used to scare me.

But I am learning courage. And my heart has strengthened, endured.

The young man at the register’s arms are stenciled with symbols and scenes, artist of skin. He laughs, high and ferocious. Eternity pauses smack dab in the middle of this moment.

I jump out of my skin, but always come back. Even when I don’t know where I went, where I’m going.

You see, I want to grip this life in my fist and steer it where it needs to go. Even when I do not understand where that is, still I try to direct because if I can feel the texture of my future beneath my fingers, then I can look at it and see where it will go.

Just let it go.

Baristas carve their lattes, swirling milk and espresso. A little boy bobs behind his mother, eyes orbed in wonder at the space of café, chatter of people. The world lingers between the lines, which I have worked so hard to keep in order.

When do I finally learn that my life is not my own?

Truly, when do I learn that everything I encounter is not a lesson?

Lean into the fold of cushioned chair, butter sweetness of pastries and caffeine waft through the air.

Breathe. Unfold.

The beauty of walking through this earth is not having to ordain every step and live in a paralyzing fear that I swerved to the wrong course.

Love is mystery, discomfort a delight.

God is raising the dead of hope in me, sitting me down in the middle of the mess.

Air made visible rises from the mouth of a man’s cup as he sips his black coffee. Blends into the air, into these breaths that comprise the day. This is life I’m experiencing, grains of sand sifting through the great hourglass of the universe. It is happening. Right now is here and happening.

Do not look beyond to what is not yet seen. Soon enough, it will arrive, and you can welcome it with a smile. But right now, do not forget to slip a smile across your lips at this exact stretch of time.

This is the only moment I have, and the only certainty is the breath I am dispelling. Do not get wrapped up in the fog of the future. Do not get swept away in the fast-paced scream of the day.

Late afternoon light dances through the high windows, beams of His fingers stretching to enfold mine.

All around are walking souls. And we all somehow stitch together. Woven with humanity. All faces in the shape of our Creator. Can we not wear them well? As well as we can, within the honesty that we are just not enough all of our own. But in release, a freedom comes.

I do not want to be alone forever, but for right now it is the Lord and I and this is not something to be missed.

This is not something to be missed.

Do not rush away this precious time. Sit with Him. Walk with Him. Rest in Him. He does not want me to miss how He is right with me as I am becoming, as I am unknown, as I strive to navigate to the next thing that I’m steamrolling Him in the right now.

The girl who slides me my espresso has the brightest eyes against her black hair. She recognizes me from times here before. Just a spark of recognition is enough. Somehow, during the morning the sky has shifted from slate gray to a soft blue breaking through the winter. Just a touch, a hint that warmer days will come.

Do not be overwhelmed at where you are, at where you are not. And do not worry about what you cannot control, which is everything.

God did not create this life to confound or confine, but to create and calm. Keep cadence in His heartbeat. Keep hope in Him.

My soul keeps reminding me of deep revelations for which it thirsts.

Stop gripping life with such a tight fist. Hold dreams loosely. Pull back the curtain on control and embrace what runs straight through.

These truths are meant to heal me, to hope, incessantly, that in my surrender the real remnants of my life may begin to unfold and form.

Life lifts in dust of spark and steam, strands of molecules, of miracles, rise in praise.

I am me and this is all I have. And all I can do is step into the day one foot at a time, do what God has given me to do that is before me, and pull the interaction with others into my heart and be grateful. My heart is beating. That is enough. It should always be enough.

God, He is here. And He is good. And I am His. And I am here, held still in the spinning universe.


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  1. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful Sarah. “if I can feel the texture of my future beneath my fingers, then I can look at it and see where it will go.” Yes!

  2. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness !! I am there with you smelling the espresso. This is so, deeply beautiful. “Keep cadence in His heartbeat.” Oh yes friend, I will try most earnestly. ✨

  3. Kayla says:

    Wonderfully written. Found myself relating on many levels. Thank you for these words.

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