Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mourning to Dancing

It is an understatement to say that it is amazing what God can do. But I suppose the statement seems to beg the question, "Are you amazed?" And I am right now, quite amazed.

He takes our mourning and turns it into dancing.
He takes our weeping and turns it into laughing.
He takes our sadness and turns it into joy.

Things that I used to find entirely fascinating and desirable- perhaps we shall call them "must have's", now do not hold my attention in the slightest.

Elegant storefronts, covetous excellence in any number of medias, all seem quite... transparent.

There is something beyond and above them that I long for, and can see now that they were only obstacles in my way... painful detours and pointless scenic routes tripping me up in my desire for something deeper.

Praise God, He gives sight to the blind!

Natasha W. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yippee IA

I had the privilege to discover a fantastic coffee house in Oklahoma City last Friday. What began as an appointment Micah had made with a friend, turned into a beautiful morning and afternoon of exploring this incredible city. It began with coffee, then pizza, then a long stretch of wandering among intersections and old buildings, and finally a prayerful, contemplative walk at the Oklahoma City Memorial.  It was a windblown, yet casual-paced trek we made, as we observed the subtle beauty of the surrounding architecture, emanating a rich sense of history, and punctuated by a distinctly hipster vibe.

It all began when Micah was given a choice of coffee shops at which to meet his friend, and finally decided that he should go to his meeting at one, while leaving me to explore another. We decided to compare notes on our experiences afterwards.

So he walked in with me to Cafe Elemental, where we were immediately intrigued by the unique atmosphere; he soon hopped back into his Tacoma to drive the block down to Coffee Slingers. I paid for my incredibly expensive for-here cup of Yippee IA from Papua New Guinea Goroka (a town I have actually visited) using the barista's fancy phone app during which I was instructed to use my finger to sign my name. What you see to the right is intended to be interpreted as Natasha Wittman. Can you cipher it? You may be tempted to think, "No, that was paid for by someone named 'Hach.'"

Well, you can think what you want, but that receipt was digitally sent to my e-mail. I'm just saying.

And so my interactions with the baristas were instantly enchanting, as I could not help but giggle at my awful signature. It certainly helped that (as Micah stayed just long enough for me to pay for my drink) we recognized one of the baristas as our previous Vespers' service worship leader, and a fellow coffee drinker sitting in a corner to be another Bridgeway worship leader. What are the odds? I do not know, save that I am now as certain as ever that we have the coolest church family in OKC (no offense) and maybe the universe (no offense, again).

I sat down at a long sleek bench and perused my list of current scriptures to memorize. Eventually, I began to feel awkward. Having ordered a brewed coffee, I wondered if I should have waited at the counter for my drink... or, much worse, if my drink was sitting, cooling off somewhere on one of the counters. Soon after, (say... around 4 minutes?) I was courteously brought my first mug of Cafe Elemental Yippee IA Papua New Guinea brewed coffee. It was brought to me black, and as I was determined to maintain the cool demeanor to match my incredibly cool atmosphere... I did not ask for cream. Call me a chicken if you like, but I actually savored sip after sip of the surprisingly complex and vibrantly flavorful joe. In fact, you can't even call it joe. Maybe Josephina. If that.

I'm telling you, (for lack of better coffee-articulating skills) it was amazing. It was well worth the challenge of signing my name with my finger and waiting a few minutes- which leads me to suspect that it was actually prepared in a French Press (which takes approximately 4 minutes).

When Micah and I met back up nearly an hour and a half later, we could not emphasize enough the fact that "You will not believe how good my cup of coffee was," each quite convicted that we had the better experience.

We drove to Hideaway Pizza, a local chain about which I cannot speak highly enough.

Hence, our view from inside the restaurant, sitting at a high-standing booth and taking in the Halloween decorations.

I have only tried their Totally Truffled pizza, with savory mushrooms and truffle oil, and their Paradise Pie, a chicken alfredo pizza that makes a huge impression you won't forget.

It was a day of intense flavor and a great deal of fun, creative atmosphere; except, of course, for the solemn walk on the grounds of the OKC Memorial, which was deeply touching and moved my heart to prayer for those whose lives are irrevocably effected by what happened there.  May we never forget to take time to grieve with those who are grieving, and to acknowledge the atrocities of violence that we may never commit them ourselves. If anything, I was moved to a deeper sense of kinship and belonging with the other mourners we passed, and left with a deeper love for our Capitol and my native home of Oklahoma than before.

Natasha W.