Skip to content

Coffee with Warren: Grandkids and gardens, yes! But blessings for aggressors?

Warren Harbeck recalls a heartwarming encounter with a friend over coffee.
WarrenHarbeck May 12
The social sharing of smart phone photos over coffee is quite popular.

It was a classic Coffee with Warren mid-May morning. The light overnight snow had pretty much melted by the time I drove to the post office. I checked my mail, then headed over to Cochrane Coffee Traders to see who might be around.

As I entered the popular café, the ever-gracious servers at the counter were already getting my half-cup of light ready for me. I headed up to the balcony, and sure enough, whom should I encounter but Ginette Losier. Our globe-trotting longtime coffee companion invited me to join her at her table, and thus began a treasured tradition.

“Well, how are the grandkids?” I asked Ginette, knowing full well what would happen next.

She pulled out her smart phone and immediately shared with me a charmingly delightful photo of the newest member of her family. Her words and smile said the rest.

Of course, I had to do the same. I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket and shared with Ginette some of the most recent photos of our grandson and great-grandson. Ah, the joy!

Well, while we still had our smart phones in our hands, we had to get onto another theme that means so much to both of us: a visit to Vancouver Island, and in particular, to the breathtakingly beautiful Butchart Gardens, near Victoria.

I just happened to be holding a sizable album of my photos of the Buchart Gardens from last my visit a few years ago. Ginette and I compared our experiences and agreed there was just no way anyone could ever get away with spending only an hour there. Try a minimum of four hours!

This got us reflecting on the importance of such beautiful moments.

But it also got me commenting on the pain I’m feeling over the ugly situation in Ukraine amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. I mentioned my concern to know how to pray for it – and how to pray especially for Putin’s role.

I referred to Jesus’ statement in the Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (the Gospel of Matthew 5:44).

As Ginette and I shared our common concern, a line from one of my all-time favourite movies came to mind. In Fiddler on the Roof, a young man approaches the rabbi and asks, “Is there a proper blessing for the Czar?” The rabbi responds, “A blessing for the Czar? Of course. May God bless and keep the Czar . . . far away from us!”

Well, in part, that’s certainly what I can pray for Putin: that God would keep him far away from the Ukrainians. But more so, I pray for his change of heart, and a change of heart for all who are behind this aggression.

Meanwhile, back to our table at Coffee Traders: I came in to sip a cup of light, but in conversation with Ginette about grandkids and gardens, I was served a more healing cup of light – light for the soul to know how to pray for a troubled world.

Thank you, Ginette.