The smell of coffee was baked in to the very walls of the mountaintop café and anyone visiting would be encased in it and for the day would smell of coffee.
Inside, steam like dragon’s breath curled up from the frothing pitcher of the dark haired barista. He carefully watched even though he could have steamed milk by the sound alone. Drinks were his art, his craft, and he lovingly poured, swirled, and created with his medium.
Second to his coffee crafting was his love of the people. He created to connect, to inspire. He lifted the mocha with his left hand and took a mocha bottle with the other and began to draw. He lifted his eyes to old Meelisa, the local grandmother, and grinned. “You’ll never guess what I’ve made for you today, Oba-chan.”
Behind Erik, the baristas were lively and prepping for the day’s work and expected customers. Meelisa’s old eyes twinkled as she sat on the red leather bar stool, “Erik-Chan, you humor an old lady well. I come not just for your wonderful art, but for your charming self.”
Behind Erik across the room, his mother came out, inspecting the baristas’ work. Her eyes narrowed when she caught sight of him at the espresso machine and the handoff bar. His heart sank as he anticipated the lecture and the rest of the day spent in office doing the business expected of the heir of the Lumeria Coffee Roasting Company.
Meelisa piped up after the wordless exchange between mother and son, “Don’t be afraid to stand up against traditions, Erik-chan. Some traditions are not meant to stay.”
He let a dimpled smile grace his face and he turned back to Meelisa, “Ah, but Oba-Chan, it is disrespectful and slightly selfish to ignore your parents, traditions, and the well-being of those under you.”
“Erik-Chan,” she admonished, “I see the love in your eyes for this work and the connection with the people. It would be disrepectful to ignore the gifts you’ve been given!”
Erik sighed, old Meelisa could freely talk, she was old and beyond the expectations of family.
Sensing his discouragement, old Meelisa continued, “Maybe you’re meant to take a different path than those planned out by those around you. I know you’ll find a respectful way to let them know if that is so. And…” she waited until he looked at her, “I know it is so. And you know, it is not disrespectful to at least try. Try for your dream. Ask, pursue!”
Erik slipped into familiarity, “Meelisa-chan, I do enjoy being a barista, but that is no life, as my mother says. A barista earns next to nothing.”
Old Meelisa looked sadly at him, “Our problems often stem not from having strong desires, but stem from our desires being too weak. We fool about with drink, sex, and ambition as C.S. Lewis says. Are you maybe too easily pleased to do as your mother asks? Are you really content with making mud pies and ignoring the opportunity of living a passionate life lived in the way you were created to be?'”
Erik laughed, “Oba-chan, you are over my head with all your reading and quoting.” His laughter died as his mother approached.
His mother gave pleasant smile to old Meelisa while quietly speaking to him, “Erik, we pay the baristas to make the drinks. I need you in the office working.” That was her soft warning. Not wanting a bigger mess on his hands, he nodded, eyes down, and began to wipe down his work station.
As his mother walked away, he looked over at old Meelisa, “You are making too much out of a small thing Oba-chan. I can be content with the path that has been given me. Isn’t that also part of life?”
A small smile on her lips, Meelisa replied, “God doesn’t limit our dreams. Often his dreams for us expand beyond our imaginations. I just hope you are open to what wonderful works he has planned for you.”