While adding footprints to the millions that proceeded mine on the Camino, there was one special beverage that always added depth to the experience. The magic mixture of rich dark espresso with an equal amount of scalded milk were the important ingredients for a Cafe con Leche. A heaping spoonful of white sugar softened the bitter taste. Several times each day, this concoction was shared with many strangers from all corners of the earth. My new friends came in all sizes, colors, shapes and each had their own set of emotional baggage. Deep friendships formed and valuable lessons were learned while sipping the official drink of Spain.
After the walk, I returned to Boise and decided that a day without Cafe con Leche was not going to be part of my future. I spent some time reviewing my options on the internet and settled on the Breville Barista Express. Two days later, Amazon delivered the sleek wonder machine to my front doorstep. It did not take long to master the art of re-creating the famed warm drink from Spain. Now, instead of meeting a friend at Starbucks, I invite them to my home to share a big cup.
Last Friday, a friend for a quarter of a century dropped by to experience her first home brewed latte. Over that period of time, our friendship has blossomed into a deep and personal bond. Many months can fly by without any contact, but there is never a doubt that she will always be on the shortest list of exceptional friends. She has marched down the path of personal growth that I discovered in Spain for the majority of her life. Without knowing it, she is my mentor.
Over the past year, her lover has been in a battle with cancer. The last time we spoke, she indicated that chemo had been effective and it was in remission. When I inquired about his current condition she took a deep breath. The expression on her face communicated everything I needed to know about the prognosis. As a friend, I launched into sympathy mode and was prepared to have a wet shoulder. To my amazement, she imprinted a valuable lesson.
She explained that this entire experience was just like my walk through Spain; a never ending opportunity to grow. Letting go of things that are beyond our control, which happens to be just about everything, is a key to lasting happiness. My friend realized that after all the tears, worry, and wishful thinking, there is nothing in her control that can make cancer disappear from her man. What she can control is her reaction to this horrible and heartbreaking fact of life. Instead of crawling in to a cavern of misery, she chooses to grow.
When she is with him, her number one goal is to make his day better. Her smile is within her control. Her attitude is within her control. Her actions are within her control.
My friend has made the wise and mature decision to focus on the positive. Instead of waking up and asking what is wrong, she chooses to ask what is right. Bad stuff happens and bad stuff will continue to happen throughout our lives. Fortunately, we all get to choose the outcome. Her choice is uplifting, inspiring, and exceptional.
This Cafe con Leche was an inspiring wake up call…………..