lent, coffee, and a life never the same

I love coffee.

I love coffee with a deep and complex love.

However, despite my love for this rich and life giving elixir, I gave it up for lent a few years ago. It went about as well as you’d anticipate.

I made it through but wow was it ever terrible. I really wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to give it up, how much I enjoy it, and how unbelievably addicted I am to it. I started a new job during that time. I was like a walking zombie trying to make good impression on my new co-workers for weeks without caffeine coursing through my veins.

They noticed instantly when I started drinking it again.

We even joke about it now. They simply cannot believe that I could do it again if I wanted to, nor do they want me to even try.

But reflecting back, I don’t think it worked.

There are loads of reason why people participate in lent but I think this one missed the mark.

I guess there is value in praying more and I suspect I did, but not to the point that I remember or can say with certainty that I did.

I am however acutely aware that I’m not different because of it.

It didn’t change how I saw God or Jesus or my faith at all.

It didn’t draw my closer to God.

When all was said and done Easter came and went and I was the same person I was when it all started.

It was just a couple weeks where I was uncomfortable.

This year I hope it’s different.

I hope that my lent experience will draw me closer to Jesus.

I hope it will show me more the heart of God.

I hope that this will actually change the way I live. That by investing my time, energy and money in this I will be a different person when I’m done.

I want to be a better disciple when Easter comes around. I want to understand what Jesus is calling his followers into and realize that it’s not always easy. I want to act differently on the other side of Easter. I want to be changed by my investment in this process. To be open to Jesus changing me.

I want to see the world in a different way. In a way that won’t allow me to go back to the way it was.

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe giving up coffee and chocolate haven’t really done it.

Might I suggest trying something new?

It will be different for all of us, but let’s not lose the power of this time because the tradition makes it easy to coast. Let’s pick something that changes the way we see the world. Let’s pick something that forces us to truly experience the world in a way that we have never had to before, not simply un-caffeinated for a few weeks.

How will this fast change you? How will it make you different when it’s done? How does this push you to be a better disciple? How will your actions be changed?

It’s not that you’ll never take up coffee again, but rather how will this lent make you see Jesus in a way that you can’t be what you were before?

Let’s not pick something inconvenient this year. Let’s pick something that changes the very world around us.

peace in her hands

Today was not fantastic.

Points of the day were good, but there were some less than ideal portions.

While I was on a rather difficult phone call one of my co-workers quietly appeared in my door. She was holding a coffee. If you’ve been reading here long you understand my deep connection to coffee.

She had heard part of my call and could sense how frustrated I was and how much I was struggling with the call. I didn’t have good answers for the person on the other end and they needed good answers.

It turned my day around.

She just appeared with peace in her hands. “I could tell you needed this.”

Relationships allow for this kind of love. Knowing how I work and who I am and being able to tell right away I was frustrated. But more than just reading the situation, knowing how much a coffee would mean and how much something so simple changes my entire day and then doing something with all that information.

It’s that kind of love we strive for.

Love, in relationships, in action.

they don’t deserve it

At 6:45 this morning I was driving in to Cambridge where I work thinking two things.

I HATE the morning.

I don’t have enough coffee.

If you know me you know I need a very specific level of caffination to function properly. It also needs to not be 6:45 am.

It’s become an ongoing joke now for a committee I sit on. At the start of the meeting half as a joke and half as a request to know if I’m going to be productive yet they ask “how’s your caffeine level?”

If you didn’t know me and meet me at 9am you’d probably think I’m kind of distance, disinterested and perhaps a little cold. The reality, I hope, is that I’m not those things but in the morning I need a long while to get going. I need some coffee and I need some time.

The people I work with are so gracious. They know I may not seem super engaged or be offering a lot of helpful insight to start but that it’s coming.  They offer a lot of grace.

And most of us are good at being gracious with people we know and especially people we like. It’s easy to be gracious when they ‘deserve’ it.

But we’re trying for more.

And it is sooooo frustrating.

Who honestly wants to give up their right to be upset or just be right?

Who doesn’t like it when people owe them?

Who choose to not make people see all they did wrong and get what they deserve?

Who honestly shows grace to that person who yelled/ cut us off in traffic/ should know better/ is an adult/ went to school for this/ choose this as a job/ or whatever else that means they truly don’t deserve grace?

We try to.

Every day, in ever relationship.

Good luck, I know I need it.