Two years ago I began a venture, a new business that I'd dreamed about for many years. I had a vision for a small coffee shop, a place where people could come for great coffee and a warm, safe, Godly atmosphere. An oppurtunity came up and I opened Java Junction in the old train depot in my hometown. Today I sold Java Junction and my head is reeling from the whirlwind of activity that has taken place in the 5 weeks since I posted a "for sale" sign.
Java Junction began with so much excitement, vision and a little apprehension as well. The first year was rather tumultuous as we experienced the do's and don'ts of small business. We learned many lessons the hard way. After some rather painful but necessary changes, the second year went much more smoothly. By late summer of the second year it began to look like we had established a successful business. And then Laynee died. My world turned upside down. I lost my focus, my vision, my creativity and my drive.
Though I was unaware at the time of how very much a part of Java Junction Laynee was, it became glaringly obvious after the accident. Laynee was a part of my vision and future for the shop. Knowing that she would likely never move into the world as most of our children do, with college, careers and families, I envisioned Java as being a job for her someday. I could teach her to wipe tables and chairs, help prepare gift baskets, use the price gun, and label merchandise. All of these simple jobs which she would take so seriously and with so much joy. Of course, I figured that customers would come just to see her. She would be my "Coffee Shop Princess."
Laynee was there at the start of the business. I recall setting up her pac and play in the restroom during remodeling because it was the only place safe and quiet for her to nap. She hated to be confined and sometimes it was challenging to accomplish tasks with her getting into everything. Like everything else in Laynee's world, Java Junction, was all hers. My friend Karen would bring her in to see me while babysitting and Laynee marched in there as though she were in charge. The sound of her slightly unsteady gait on the hardwood floors has haunted me everyday since she left us. At times I think I'll go crazy for needing to hear that sound. Laynee attended daycare two mornings a week, just across the street from Java. Every day I watch as parents come and go, dropping of their sweet little ones and I ache to be able to hold her hand and walk across the street with her just once more. Songs play through the sound system and I remember her silly little dance to them. Everytime I wipe the wooden highchair I remember her trying to stand up against the restraint. Memories of her are everywhere in that building.
I ask myself, how can it be that something that I was so passionate about 6 months ago, has lost all appeal to me? There have been many well wishers who have voiced their opinions and concerns about my decision to sell. The bottom line is that I don't want to run Java without my Laynee. I have no reason to run Java without her. The memories there are endless. The memories at home are so painful, having them at work as well, leaves no oppurtunity for healthy grieving.
Letting go of Java feels much like letting go of another part of Laynee, another step in the grieving process. It hurts, it leaves me feeling confused and uncertain. I have no idea what I am going to do now, yet somehow in my soul I know that this is the right step. I most certainly never imagined that the business would sell in just a matter of weeks. Once again, God has proven that he is on his thrown, he is in control.
Laynee was a huge part of the creation of Java Junction, and as it continues under new ownership, her memory will remain there forever.
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.