Cafe series: I’m writing from a different cafe each week, as a form of discipline, and self-care, and time management (when I’m here, in a cafe, I can’t distract myself with the books on my bedside or the dirty laundry basket. I’m just here, with a laptop and my words.).
Cafe: Bespoke by Barista HQ, Albany Highway, Victoria Park
Drink: Prana Chai latte (and a sneaky spinach and feta quiche which was incredible!)
It was the first thing I noticed, the smell.
It was the peak of summer, and the air was still and hot in the evening, I guess we were now too far from the ocean for the early sea breeze that I’d been used to. But the stillness of the air carried a different scent – eucalyptus. A green and woody aroma, with the unmistakable mint of gum trees.
It surprised me, like so many things did when we moved.
I wasn’t expecting a fresh, foresty smell so close to the city.
I wasn’t expecting it to feel like home so soon, either.
On one of our first weekends, I discovered our local IGA had fresh donuts delivered every Sunday.
As we sat at our kitchen table, trying salted caramel and passionfruit donuts, licking the filling from our fingers and the cinnamon sugar from our top lip, I asked the kids, “Does it feel strange here, weird living in a new neighbourhood?”
Where everything is unfamiliar. Where we’re not sure which turn to take, or where to get our groceries from, or who does the best fish and chips.
Where the light falls differently through the windows.
Where we’re discovering where the floor creaks, and which light switch to use.
They replied, “No? It feels just the same.”
Of course, it didn’t feel just the same. Everything was different.
Except us. We were still the same.
It was the same us, dancing in the kitchen at breakfast, and sitting at our familiar dining table.
The same mum using puns, and the same teens, eyerolling.
The same dad, and the same familiar sound of the coffee machine at the same time in the morning.
So they shrugged their shoulders and I knew that whatever adventures lay ahead, we’d do it together, because our together doesn’t change.
There’s so much fun and adventure (and terror and dread!) in change. I know people who absolutely hate change, and others who can’t sit still and the thought of doing the same thing daily for them is terrifying and restricting.
But there is beauty in stability.
I’m a girl who thrives on routine.
I like it when I can map my days, my weeks.
Same doesn’t have to mean boring.
Doing the same thing over and over can release us from carrying heavy mental loads, because the muscle memory does the work for us.
Which means we have more space (mentally, and in the laundry!) to do the fun stuff.
There’s comfort in sameness.
Comfort in the friend who’s always there – she’s changed over the years yes, and so have we, but our friendship hasn’t. It’s stable, trustworthy, reliable – through the storms and waves of life and different seasons, it’s steadfast.
But regardless of what comfort we find in things unchanging, we’ll inevitably face times of unsteadyness. When life doesn’t look the way it did, or the way we expected.
And in the midst of all that is changing across the landscape of our lives, we’re beseeched by scripture to still ourselves and drop anchor.
To hold tight amidst the varying seasons, jobs, family, and the shifting of what our world looks like – we’re to hold fast to the One who doesn’t change.
To trust that the unchanging nature of God will carry us, unwavering, even as we ourselves waver and wobble.
It’s then I can look to Him and say wholly, honestly, “It feels just the same.”
Because whatever shifts and moves and whirls around me, I know that He doesn’t.
He stays the same.
So, it doesn’t smell like the ocean here, but the eucalypt is fresh and the river bekons, and although the light falls differently, there’s still light. And hope.