Monday, August 24, 2009

Chai for the Present

"Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy." -Psalm 126:5

A little more than a week ago, God invited me on a journey into the depths of my heart, to let go of something that had been taking root for a long, long, time. This something wasn't a bad thing, mind you. But because it doesn't belong there any longer and is taking up space where new growth should occur, it needs to be taken out. I need to let it go. And it's hard. There has been a seed of hope resting in the rich soil of pleasant memories and taking root in the hope that those memories might become present realities, or at least blossom into buds for the future. But memories aren't a good place to live.

Something that I feel God showed me this past week is that I have been sowing into the past, into something that no longer exists, which leaves little seed for the present.

Another way to look at is is through the metaphor of Chai. I used to go to Borders and get my Chai fix on a regular basis, as they sold the best Chai available in their signature Borders Cafes. Today, these Borders Cafes no longer exist. Oh, the Borders stores still serve cafe beverages, but it's a totally different cafe and thus a totally different set of drinks. They say they offer Chai, but it's not the same stuff that I grew to love and write poetry about back in the days of Borders Cafes. So back to the present. There's this hope in my heart, this longing, even a belief, that I have held onto for so long, but it's a belief that is rooted in a past longer present. Were I to hold onto that hope from the past, it would be like me hitting up today's Borders stores in the pursuit of my most beloved Chai, to no avail. Why? Because Borders doesn't serve the same Chai any more. It's a different cafe altogether, so why am I seeking what is no longer there?

Here's a nice surprise. If I leave the safe world of Borders stores (which I have), and venture into other cafes to try the various Chai's offered, maybe, just maybe I will find a Chai as good as the one I used to enjoy in the glory days of Borders Chai. Sure, I might run into a good number of counterfeit Chai's, coffee shops promising something that they can't deliver (which has often been the case in my experience), but is it worth the risk? Might I find a Chai somewhere whose divine quality resonates with the kiss of heaven? Is it possible? Is it?

It is. I have found it.

You see, last weekend while visiting the International House of Prayer in Kansas City after a friend's wedding, I stumbled upon my most beloved substance in quite an interesting way. I was in this prayer room, which was really intense, and there was a part of that intensity that I was able to enter into. But after awhile, there was a part of me that needed a rest and almost sensed God saying, "Take a rest, David. Come into the cafe with me."

I ventured into this cafe they have called "Higher Groundz" and I was struck when I found that they had three types of Chai, four. I thought, "Hmmm...That's interesting. Reminds me of the Borders days." I asked them what kind of Chai they served, and the barista said it was "Big Train." Big Train. Hmmm...I thought I'd had Big Train before and wasn't impressed, but maybe I was mistaken. Let's go for it. So I went for it, and here's what happened. After sitting down with my Vanilla Chai (for that's the best there can be), I took one sip, and immediately my senses were aroused. My nose knew the aroma that can only come from sipping the beloved Borders Chai. My tongue leaped with joy inside my mouth as if it were surprised by the greeting of a very old friend. "This is Borders Chai!" I thought. "Granted, they didn't put enough of the Chai powder in there, but I daresay this is the same as Borders Chai!" I proceeded to ask the barista if he would give me more of the Chai powder to place in my drink (yes, as a matter of fact, Chai powder concentrates CAN be very good), and after stirring it in and taking another sip, I knew I had entered a sacred place. But it wasn't Borders in the present, and it wasn't Borders in the past. It was a moment in time I would have never expected to find Borders Chai, in a place I had never been and never imagined the site of such a joyful reunion.

There are surprises awaiting in the present and cups of joy abounding in the future. If I can celebrate what's past and lament the loss of what is no longer here, then I can open my heart wide for the present Chai pouring in. And I too can pour into the present, preparing a rich brew for the future.

"I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." -Psalm 81:10.

Taste and See

Taste and see....Taste and see. What do those words mean? Taste and see? What if we could taste heaven? What would it be like if we could see it? savor, try out, experiment, ingest, imbibe, consume. glimpse, view, behold, catch sight of, take in the with eyes, capture a vision.

Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who trusts in him." Who is this Lord? Why is he good? Why is such a trust in him considered blessed, lucky, happy, fortunate?

Taste and see.




Beloved Substance

Beloved Substance
by David Ello

A cup of Chai for people to drink, that they may get a taste of goodness…that is what I would be.

A cup of Chai whose divine qualities speak boastfully of the being that created it…that is what I would be.

A cup of Chai that communicates what vitality there is to be had in this life…that is what I would be.

A cup of Chai made with rich love and skill, and not the counterfeit that is produced at certain other coffee bars…that is what I would be.

A cup of Chai: a tea latte with honey, milk, sugar, ginger,

cinnamon, and an array of other spices…that is what I would be.

I am not a cup of Chai, for though I am Chai, this vessel is only


May the one whose creativity has been poured into this beloved beverage, pour forever more, that I may become a full cup of Chai,

complete in every aspect of my essence, as I was created to be.