Sharing coffee, sharing stories

Matt Whalen

Published 8 November 2019

Tim and Ryan have a routine of getting a drink at Sugar Fixe almost every Wednesday. The staff at Sugar Fixe knows Tim’s order by heart and confirms his medium black coffee to-go with the simple question “The usual?” Tim replies “Yep.” This exchange feels more like another way of saying hello than a question to confirm an order. It is safe to say, Ryan and Tim are regulars.

Last Wednesday, Tim and Ryan invited Anders, Nate, and myself to join them for their weekly Sugar Fixe.

We sat outside in the crisp fall weather holding our drinks tightly in our hands to stay warm. Anders, opting for his afternoon Coke Zero, kept his hands in his jacket between sips.

Over the next hour we just talked. We talked about nothing in particular. It wasn’t a meeting or a check-in but friends having drinks together. Anders shared about his recent trip to visit his sister in Dallas. He told us that the weather was 75 degrees with lots of sun. He came back to Chicago with a slight sunburn, the mark of a good vacation. Ryan shared about his morning run, then sat back quietly and listened to the rest of us, chiming in occasionally. He is a good listener. Nate shared about the upcoming trip to Speak Up Speak Out and the wedding he recently attended as best man.I shared about the wedding I attended as groomsmen in Detroit. It was huge and felt like a mini royal wedding. 650 guests, 12 groomsmen, and 12 bridesmaids. Tim shared about his current art projects and his travels.

As our conversation wrapped up we said our goodbyes and left.

In L’Arche, moments like these are talked about often. The times when we sit together and share our stories create the foundations of healthy community. The fact that we have access to local shops and events so close to our L’Arche homes is exciting. It makes it easier for us to be known, to be good neighbors.

I look forward to more moments like these, sharing daily life with friends.