Yesterday was cliche fall weather in Urbana-Champaign. Burnt orange leaves on the ground with sporadic gusts of wind that blew the leaves whichever way, and a huge, golden sun warming everything in its reach.
I had plans to eat lunch with a girlfriend of mine and we went to a new pizzeria/cafe on campus called the flying machine. We parked a bit away from the shop so we walked through downtown Urbana, enjoying the scenic view around us.
We first ordered our drinks — coffee drowned with brown sugar for me, some exotic tea for her pretentious taste (just kidding) — and split a pizza. We found a table and took our seats, and over a creamy, meaty Mediterranean slice of pizza, we started to exchange different significant childhood stories that we are convinced started this trajectory we now call our life story, our life path. Those 'moments' that made us who we are today. (Casual afternoon conversation. Her and I clearly can't do 'small talk' really.)
We discussed unhealthy relationship stories, views on the church, home dynamics... and while she was lost in one of her stories, she paused for a moment... as if she was going down a memory lane of pain and hurt, but could walk through it confidently with 20/20 vision. She looked back up and said, "It was such a small instance, but it affected everything. Man, sin runs so deep." I responded by just nodding silently, taking it all in, and projecting that truth onto my own stories, too. She was right. And however we landed into this odd, personal, and reflective conversation in a casual pizzeria on a sunny autumn day, we faced-to-face with the truth of humankind.
Sin runs deep in your family, in your city, and in your country... and it also runs deep and wide in your heart. And because we were never meant to live with sin or brokenness, because our fragile bodies and souls were made for the garden of Eden, we run around like self-righteous but headless chickens finding ways to bring some sort of restoration back in our hearts, families, cities, and countries...
It's important to know your story, to reminiscence on your past and walk down memory lane, to be able to recognize in your own life that sin really runs deep. And then, take time to glance at yourself and lament at the ways sin wronged you, but then gaze at the cross because where sin runs deep, His grace is found.
Today, I'm thankful for autumn, thankful for coffee, thankful for good friends... But I'm even more thankful for every way God uses little things to remind me of His infinite grace and redemptive story.