The coffee shop was a quaint place, with floor-to-ceiling wood-framed windows. The sunlight cascaded across white linen tablecloths and shelves of cakes and eclairs, leaving little for the vintage chandeliers to do. I sat down, peering out at the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa and sipping coffee from an ornate cup with saucer. Having spent a month serving in an orphanage, I begged God to stay rather than return to my home in the U.S.
The following Sunday, after church in South Africa, I leaned down to place my purse on the floor of my car when my chest hit the horn, sounding out what I would later discover to be my mating call, HOOONNK! At that exact moment, a young man who had been passing behind my car assumed that I was honking at him and approached my window. As he approached, he noticed my driver’s side tire was flat. He changed my car tire, but God intended him to change my life.
I returned to the U.S. and, after much prayer, we began courting. As the son of parents who lived through racial segregation, he wasn’t supposed to bring home a woman whose skin matched the color of the people they’d served. And as a small town, Midwestern girl I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a black man, either. Over the next two years, God overcame. We married, and I moved to South Africa.
One day, when out walking, I spotted a familiar coffee shop. Near my new house, with my new husband, was the De La Crème Cafe and Confectionery. I stepped inside, assumed my seat near a window, and ran my fingers over the white linen table cloth. There I sat—in the best of the best of God’s promises.
Excerpted with permission from “Hot Chocolate in June,” by Holly Mthethwa