I love coffee. I love the aroma, I love the taste and I love how coffee makes me feel.
As a mama of eight, I have had YEARS and YEARS of rushed coffee consumption. But now? Oh my stars. I am living such an amazing stage of life. My kids are all in school and I get to drink coffee without interruption!
And sometimes I even go to a coffee joint, enjoy the atmosphere AND my quiet time.
I have turned into a quiet hoarder. I am sure that’s a thing.
The other day I went into the Starbucks at 21st and Maize in Wichita. It’s not your ordinary smallish Starbucks. They doubled the space by purchasing the store next door, tearing down walls, and making it into one vast coffee experience.
I love entering into that particular Starbucks because I can get lost there. I get my Grande Blonde with Steamed Heavy Cream, a glass of water, and I find myself a nice tall table.
I set up my computer and immerse myself in the written word.
Talk about joy. THANK YOU, RUSSELL DOERNEMAN, for asking me to be your wife. I love love love this life I get to live.
The other day I had settled into a nice space; about thirty minutes into my writing, I knew I would have to find an electrical outlet.
So I picked up my stuff and moved to a different table.
Next to me was a friendly-looking man staring at carpet samples and working on his computer. As I plugged in and moved all of my cups over to the new table, I asked him what he did for a living. He told me.
Then he asked me what I did.
I smiled, weighing if I should be real or not. Then I just said something like,
“My adult son and I have collaborated on an online course to teach parents how to talk to their children about their sexuality. We openly discuss pornography. Our hope is to help parents raise porn-resistant kids.”
He grew thoughtful and he asked me the name of our course. I told him.
He wrote it down…The Parenting Dare…then said, “I’ve never heard of a course like this. May I ask, why did you create it?”
I paused once more. Just how much should I share? Well, if he was asking….
“As a young mom, I totally neglected my oldest son’s emerging sexuality. As a result, he was on his own in this area and naturally found porn and over the course of time, became addicted.”
“Oh. Wow. Well, how did you find out? What happened?”
I answered him honestly, telling him our gory story.
I finished with, “I thought porn was only a moral issue but I discovered it is way more neurological.”
This is where the story gets interesting. He almost jumped out of his seat as he asked, “What do you mean by that?”
A gave him a brief overview of the brain and addiction, explaining how the brain will actually keep the person consuming porn, even when they want to quit. It is incredibly difficult to break free of it.
“I’ve never heard this before.”
He became reflective. Feeling finished with the convo, I went back to my computer.
Twenty minutes later the man motioned to me and says, “I cannot stop thinking about what you told me. Would you mind me asking you some more questions?”
I had work to do, but pulled up a chair at his table and we began talking like two old friends, back and forth, sharing our experiences.
He said that he, like all men, was obviously attracted to sex, including porn. “I went to a men’s conference once, hoping to find answers. The only message they had about porn: it’s a moral issue. They talked about the selfishness of porn, the sin of objectifying women; I already knew that. So I left feeling worse than ever.”
“Yeah, it’s actually awesome to realize that it can be addicting. The science is what freed my son.”
He asked me more questions, which I answered as best as I could. His comfort level eased as we talked. I sort of wanted to absolve him.
Once he was done quizzing me, I went back to my table and just sat there, quiet and reflective.
My path is not one that I could have predicted or would have chosen on my own. I left that coffee shop, happy to be alive. Happy to be able to share the gifts that I had received.
And I realized that it was all grace.
Grace. Unmerited. Given freely. With the power to transform.