Today, I drove through the same Tempe neighborhood to get to Infusion Coffee & Tea another time. This time, there was a mortality to the drive. I knew the dozens of memories made at the shop were growing old as I did. Infusion is where I feel deep into the pour-over coffee culture. I remember distinctly how my mom took me here. We were waiting to get into Four Peaks Brewery next door. She got an iced tea in typical mom fashion. I don’t even remember what I got, but I remember feeling transcendence.
When we went into Four Peaks, I ordered a beer and they didn’t I.D. me. I was only 18. I had just returned from Europe. My plans for the future seemed endless. Each day I had more ideas, none marked with the uncertainty I have since learned to live with. I wish I felt the same way today.
Change has been an ever-present fountain of chaotic beauty for the past two and a half years. Spiritually, I became a nomad, perpetually yearning to meet God in the wilderness of Being. Emotionally, I grew from naïve joy to unfettered sorrow to maturing into emotional reality. I awoke to existence, in it I learned to revel in the lack of limitation. As my mind evolves, a chaotic swarm of possibilities surrounds me. Sometimes threatening, sometimes improving my chances of survival. Here, at Infusion Coffee, I remember where I have been and where I could be.
I cannot help but reminisce about my adult years in Arizona. These years are full of unfulfilled dreams and changing possibilities. These years saw relationships go from 0 to 100 percent to -10 percent in a matter of days, weeks and months. These years prophesied over me, wisdom, stuck-ness, and questioning. These years asked uncomfortable questions; others felt uncomfortable, I felt uncomfortable. These years saw me reject God, accept God, reject God, accept God…
These years, covered with the yarns of memories. In going, memories unfold behind us like yarn from a rainbow-colored ball. Sections of the yarn are different colors. Tinted by our emotions, relationships, personalities, and situations. My yarn has been blue with depression, green with phlegmatic anxiety, and yellow with radiant joy. At Infusion yarns of every color wind about. Some drape the gray couch, there was once a yellow couch there. Yarn sits in every chair. Yarns commemorating the people I share so many moments with. I turn 20 on Sunday. For two decades now, I tinted the fabric of life and lives. In this, I am keenly aware.
In this coffee shop, I remember my teachers. Nearly, all of existence. I thank them and it. In existence, I have yearned desperately to discover the essence of ultimate reality. I bear the burden, beauty, and absurdity of existential awareness. In this bearing, I am grateful. Thankful for the wrestlers who fight against the grains of existences to find God. Thankful for people who feel no pressure to wrestle, for they are content in their existences. Thankful for culture, the beautiful associations of collaborative meaning and life.
I am almost 20. I know little, but I’ve learned to fight existence. I became a black-belt four years ago. I was born Caleb. I will live wholeheartedly as I seek and be with my unique spirit. I will not surrender these 20’s without first fighting to find essence.
Here and today, at Infusion Coffee, I challenge myself to enjoy weaving my ideas of reality with chords of truth. As I create art, as I podcast, as I study and research. 20 years of Being. I can do more, better.