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A Good Cup of Life
I enjoy my morning cup of coffee, maybe more than I should. By that, I mean that it is important to me, possibly beyond its true value. I still love it, however, and consider it a faithful friend. No matter how yesterday ended or today has begun, it is always there waiting for me. It warms me, starts my engine, and the routine is reassuring. Regardless of how the world changed overnight, my coffee remains the same. It is a point of stability in a crazy time.
This love of coffee was not necessarily predictable. I did not come to it early in life and actually didn't enjoy it except as an occasional warm-up. All that changed when I spent a year in Thailand. I was a maintainer, working on the flightline overnight. Twelve days on, one day off, fourteen-hour shifts. There wasn't much to do but fix airplanes, tell stories, and drink coffee. About half-way through my tour, I was unexpectedly put on flying status, spending long hours getting to and from those "interesting moments" that were the mission purpose. Coffee sure came in handy then. The military knows how to make coffee: strong, dark, and hot. It kept me awake and sometimes warm on those long nights, and it became my constant companion.
There is never a bad time for a good cuppa Joe, but my favorite time is in the early morning as I settle into my favorite chair to study God's Word and commune with Him. The moment and brew combine to build a sense of peace and intimacy as I give myself over to the search for truth, mercy, grace, knowledge, wisdom, counsel, and the presence of the Lord in my life. Somehow, coffee makes it better.
While I've long enjoyed a mug of hot coffee, it is only in the last few years that I would say I've become a devotee, one who pursues the perfect cup with passion. It started when I stopped working and was much more dependent upon my own selections. I started buying organic beans direct from an online roaster and experimenting with different blends until I found two I settled on: Italian Dark Roast Espresso and Dark Sumatra Mandheling. Recently, I kicked it up a notch. I needed a new grinder and decided to opt for a manual instead of electric, because hand grinders provide a more consistent grind and they are quieter, allowing me to grind just as the water comes to a boil without waking my still sleeping bride. It turns out that grinding the beans within a minute of pouring the water over them makes a tremendous difference in taste. So, I got a small hand grinder and a one cup French press. Good beans, a hand grinder, and a French press to match. I was set! The coffee was awesome, what could possibly make it better?
Father's Day made it better. One of my sons happened to visit a favorite restaurant in my hometown recently, a morning place with great pancakes. He bought me one of their coffee cups and gave it to me as a present. This restaurant is a place of fond memories as it is where my wife and I spent many hours early in our relationship. We would meet for breakfast or end a date there in the early morning hours, and it was there that we had our first conversations about spending our lives together. The year was 1968 and it seems like yesterday now. So yes, this cup means a lot to me. It is a cup of love and grace beyond measure. And it is the perfect mug. It has thick walls that allow it to retain heat and is a good size - not so large that the brew can grow cold over conversation, and not so small that it is a constant chore. It is the perfect cup and I have the perfect brew to fill it with.
Yes, I am a devotee of the good things in life: peace, mercy, and a good cup of strong, hot, black Java, Liquid Energy, Rocket Fuel, Joe, Buzz Juice ... but most of all ... love.
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