Our Day Starts with Coffee
Our day starts with coffee. On a typical morning, i get up early (6ish seems early to me), go down and make a pot of regular (about 8 cups) and another pot of decaf for my mom, who lives with us. Then i pour a soup-bowl-sized mug for donna, and (depending on my level of fatigue) an 8-12 ounce cup for me, and bring them back up to bed. We sit for a while, drink our coffee, and try to wake up, before launching into the morning's activities. It's the most regular ritual of our day.
Yesterday i was reflecting on the investments we've made to support this familiar and comforting activity.
- A nice Krups coffeemaker: probably cost about $50, the third in about 5 years because some previous models just didn't hold up
- I'm rather a snob about how my coffee tastes, so i grind the beans right before brewing with an electric grinder (we've got a backup for this, and numerous other items, that my mother added to the household). Somewhere in the basement is an old-fashioned cast iron grinder from England: i bought it used for $5 from somebody at work, and used it there for a season when i also made my own coffee in the office.
- An espresso machine: it doesn't get used much, but i do love an occasional latte
- Additional coffeemaking parephernalia: a 1-qt french-press (mostly used for decaf), a personal size french-press, a small plastic cone for use with filters. These are supported by paper filters (to keep extra sediment out), a brush for cleaning the grinder, and several little plastic measures.
- There's a vast and apparently unstoppable parade of drinking vessels designed for coffee (and other hot beverages). We have everyday mugs:many are simply functional and decorative, others were personal gifts with philosophic maxims or names, others record a career of technical and other conferences where mugs are popular giveaways. We have three stainless travel mugs that keep coffee warm for hours, for early morning drives, as well as several other plastic types that don't work as well (some of which no longer have their tops, but we keep them around just in case the tops turn up again). We have at least three styles of mug in our collection that came from churches where we were regulars (and another one was the giveaway for first-time visitors). Then there are other casual sets of 6 or 8 that were part of tableware settings. Since we have several sets of fine china for special occasions, we also have several sets of matching cups and saucers, as well as a few special keepsakes from ancestors. We have a couple of Irish Coffee mugs.
- Keeping our bean supply going is a recurring activity. We have fair trade beans shipped directly to our house from PuraVida, through the agency of World Relief. I buy decaf beans less frequently, so i usually visit a local Starbucks. We also have several varieties sitting in the cupboard, most of them gifts for Christmas or other occasions.
- There are several thermos containers for keeping coffee warm: one "bullet" thermos for personal use, another much larger one for winter outings, another for casual entertaining. We also have a warming plate to keep a cup warm (might be broken, we don't use it anymore)
- I have more coffee items at work: a couple of mugs, another personal-size french press, another coffee-warmer
- Other items in our lives are specialized to support our coffee drinking. Both cars have cup holders (two apiece). Our microwave has a special Beverage button.
For me, coffee conjures up images of relaxation (Madison Avenue loves this one). Some desserts just don't seem right without a cup of coffee (like that fabulous rum cake donna made yesterday). I bring. There's nothing wrong with any of these things: they are simple pleasures of life. Coffee has the practical value of helping wake us up each morning, and i bring it to donna in bed as a small affection and service.
A Reflection for Disciples
When an earnest but encumbered young man asked Jesus about gaining eternal life, Jesus' answer was simple:
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21, ESV)
The disheartened man turned away, because "he had great possessions." Jesus took the opportunity to articulate a general principle to his disciples:
“How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23, ESV)
The disciples were first amazed, and then "exceedingly astonished", and Jesus confirmed their incredulity by announcing it was in fact impossible for men (though nothing is impossible for God).
I tend to define speeders as the people who drive faster than i do, regardless of whether i'm actually obeying the speed limit or not. Same with "the rich": it's not us (regardless of how much we have), it's the people who have more. But looking at a simple thing like coffee - w're not talking about overtly sinful behavior here - helps me realize just how much i have invested on earth, rather than in heaven.
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