When I was in high school, my friend Brynn and I would get coffee every Friday after school. I don’t know what originally encouraged the idea, but we decided we wanted to work our way through every coffee shop in Oklahoma City — and so we did. When we first initiated this task, I was not a huge fan of coffee, but Brynn would always order a cappuccino and I a latte. We got into this groove, trying new coffee shops but always ordering the same thing each place we went.
This ritual became something that I not only looked forward to, but completely craved by the end of each week. I can specifically and perceptibly remember conversations had, as well as their context — even down to what we were wearing and where we were sitting. Although the coffee shop circa came to an end, Brynn is still one of my dearest friends, and when we’re both home and get coffee, she orders her cappuccino and I (usually) order a latte.
A couple weekends ago I went to a coffee shop in Little Rock to study and, on a whim, ordered a cappuccino. I don’t know if it was because the drink reminded me of Brynn and home or if I needed the break in routine, but since then I have been on a cappuccino kick.
According to Merriam-Webster, the name “cappuccino” comes from a word that refers to friars and, more specifically, the 16th-century Capuchin friars of Italy. These friars were known for their missionary work among the poor and dedication to extreme austerity and simplicity, as well as their traditional brown robes. When the cappuccino was originally introduced in Italy, it gained its name because the color combination of the froth and espresso resembled that of the Capuchin friar’s robes; this name stuck and eventually made its way across the Atlantic by the 1800s.
Two weekends ago as I sipped my cappuccino, I was reminded of an important life lesson: We are all interconnected.
Just as the Capuchin friars inspired the naming of a centuries-old drink, just as the barista crafted that which she served me, and just as this same drink reminds me of a friendship that has enduringly shaped my life, I am reminded of the weight our interactions hold. We cannot make a decision — we cannot utter a word — without it affecting those whom the Lord breathed into existence — those he ordained to walk on this earth.
Maybe this in and of itself is a massive part of what life is about: Our choices, words and deeds matter, so may we treat one another as if it is true and as if we are one. Because just as drinking a cappuccino reminded me of a friend who has ceaselessly walked with me throughout life and I, unknowingly, reaped the benefits of religious ringleaders years and years ago, I am called to be diligent in my interactions with those whom I come into contact. And, maybe Brynn was right all along: Maybe, after all these years, she has made a cappuccino convert out of me.