April 28, 2006
A few sips and a few seconds
by John Fischer
I love coffee. I love it dark, oily, and with a burnt chestnut aftertaste. French roast is my variety of choice. The beans have to be almost black and a little wet. Dry brown beans do not make a coffee that interests me.
There is hardly anything I know better than my first cup of coffee in the morning. I know exactly how to brew it to my liking. I know how long it will last in a thermal pot and at what point that means of keeping it hot looses its maximum effectiveness.
It has not always been this way. There was a time, say 30 years ago, when coffee was either percolated in a large aluminum pot or dripped into one of those round Farmer Brothers glass carafes that sat on a hot burner all morning in your favorite restaurant or diner. You could have it black or you could disguise it with cream and/or sugar, but those were the only options. Over the last 30 years, coffee has turned into an experience, and coffee drinkers have all become experts at what they like. People in their 20s grew up with infinite options for their coffee. Little by little, I have been re-educated about this.
I believe it’s more than just marketing that has made this change. Our lives are crying for a break. We are all on the go, searching for meaning. We may still grab that cup of coffee to go at Starbucks, but for a moment we are in an environment that appreciates taste and tasteful moments, and even if we don’t stop and enjoy a few sips and a few seconds with a book or the paper, we think we have just by being there. The coffee experience is an oasis of thought and meaning pregnant with insights for those who take the time to find them.
T.S. Elliot once asked, “Where is the life we have lost in living?” It’s a simple testament to the fact that living can drown out life. I’m not sure how, but meaning and the coffee experience are mysteriously tied together. A few moments with this brew can help you slow down long enough to hear life again.
Coffee holds secrets. It is never the thing itself; it unlocks the thing. It stimulates the thought; it allows for the reflection; it makes an excuse for conversation – all of these more important than coffee itself. We do not drink coffee for coffee’s sake. We drink it for what it takes us to, and it is soon forgotten as an important element in the chain.
In reality, we are like that too. We find our worth in being a means to something and someone greater than ourselves. The man who baptized Jesus said about him: He must increase and I must decrease. And even though he ended up beheaded over that arrangement, he lived … and died … for something that was worth it.
How about you? What are you living for?
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John Fischer is the Senior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals. He resides in Southern California with his wife, Marti and son, Chandler. They also have two adult children, Christopher and Anne. John is a published author and popular speaker.
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