Coffee, freedom, and lightning

Ahh…. freedom. Don’t worry — I’m not about to wax eloquent on patriotism and country. I’m remembering a different type of freedom, the kind I felt during the summer before college and throughout that whole first year. I was high on freedom then.

The sheer fun of doing what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted!!! Have you ever experienced this? Everyone should have a little taste of that thrill, every once in a while. My freedom tastes like crisp mornings, night air and fresh coffee. My parents bought me a coffeemaker for college, but it wasn’t just any coffeemaker. It was a percolator. Just try explaining that to your new college friends. But it made great coffee, strong just like I like it. At first that percolator got me through late nights studying, sometimes all night. Then I began to miss being awake before 11am, so the percolator woke me up for coffee and Bible study in the fresh morning air. Why would a college student willingly get up at dawn? Because I could, and because God met me there.

If mornings and coffee meant freedom to me, then lightning reminded me how freedom isn’t really free. I wrote a column for the college paper one time about how much I love a good lightning storm, how I would let dinner burn while I watched a storm roll through. I still love storms. How inspiring to see lightning bolts dart across the clouds, so transient and yet so powerful. One time during freshman year a friend and I went to the top of a parking garage to watch a storm. High on freedom, we got out of the car and whirled around through the rain. Why? Because we could. But when I felt all the little hairs on my arms stand up straight, I got back in the car and slammed the door. I knew that even I could get struck by lightning.

“Just because I can” caused me to do dumb things that year. Some of those things made freedom taste like a hangover. Freedom tasted much better when that percolator woke me up for early morning prayer time, just because I could. What does freedom taste like for you?

9 thoughts on “Coffee, freedom, and lightning

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