So in case you were wondering, the coffee is starting to taste a little better, one cup at a time. My steady effort has led me to combine recommendations from multiple sources into a special cocktail of my own. As a result, the cup I’m drinking right now has a hint of actual flavor. Now if I can only remember the recipe…(Note to self: 1/3 cup beans instead of ¼ cup, let the grinder’s coarse auto-setting run to completion instead of trying to be smarter than the manufacturer, open the tea kettle spout while the water cools for one minute before pouring it into the French press, give the suspended coffee five pokes downward with a wooden spoon: DO NOT STIR, and set the steeping timer for 5 minutes and 30 seconds). There. I don’t want to lose any progress I’ve made and unwittingly fall back into a state of inattentiveness to new details. See? It’s working; I accept and appreciate that I don’t know it all.
Husband laughing uncontrollably in the background.
For the first time in my life I view Mr. Coffee as some kind of genius. And if I were one (a genius that is), I’d bag the French Press and make a quick trip to Target. Of course I cannot. Not now. This whole coffee making thing is about bringing together disparate components into an integrated whole that produces wonderful fruits of a satisfying taste. The problem is that these disparate parts remain somewhat disintegrated because of their individual defects and therefore are collectively unable to produce the good fruit I know they are capable of.
This brings me to an astonishing discovery made through the recent studies of deep thoughts and observations offered by learned scholars of old. Pouring through the material, I’ve stumbled upon several new insights, but one in particular has really thrown me for a loop. Here it is:
Like the Trinity, the community where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are enmeshed as One yet retain their distinct identities, God intends that human beings become just as integrated with one another while retaining their unique identities within the community, collectively producing increasingly more bountiful good fruit.
I get it, but I don’t really like this idea…for personal reasons of course. I also don’t like having to work so hard for a good cup of coffee. However, it makes sense. If you see a glimpse of God and you start chasing Him down, like Helen Hunt in the movie Twister when she chased down the big one with wild-eyed abandon while hanging precariously from the side of a safari jeep, you’ve got to accept the risks. And when you fail, you have to try again. Helen eventually got the weird little pod things to float up into the tornado’s funnel and capture the data she so desperately had sought in her desire to understand tornadoes. That’s me. I’m Helen Hunt except I’m chasing down the invisible Kingdom of God with wild-eyed abandon while hanging precariously off the side of my office chair in order to gain insights about the Kingdom, except without the funding. This metaphor also applies to my pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. Sort of.
In the same way that I decided to test my swimming skills after watching a season of Flipper (it did not turn out well), I decided to try this idea of community. This morning as I walked into the church building, I offered a tepid gesture of greeting to an acquaintance as I sought to quickly make my way through the sanctuary door. In less than one second, the acquaintance had blocked my way and was quickly moving into my personal space (personal space issues are legit…I Googled it…there are studies and videos). I swear I’m some kind of magnet for personal space invaders, usually of the over 60 and male crowd. Anyway, as I stepped backward to create a more appropriate distance, the bystander moved with me. I felt intimidated. Not good.
I don’t think this is what God intends. In other words, I don’t believe I’m to set aside who I am in order to accommodate the neediness of another just to avoid hurting their feelings. That only leaves unresolved issues and too many self-protective walls in operation, hindering the power and grace of Him Who wants to remove those things that perpetuate our community’s state of disintegration. So no, I don’t feel bad about reacting the way I did. I only wish I was better equipped in the moment to address the issue head on while both retaining my integrity and respecting the personhood of the other. Initially, my efforts will be awkward and probably painful, but even medicine can have a nasty taste before it makes its way to the malady within and applies its healing effects.
All that said, I’ve got to say this idea of modeling Trinitarian unity is a little freaky. I get it. I also get how much effort will be required, especially given how far short I fall in the area of relational generosity, grace, and most importantly, courage.
Although a trivial pursuit, the whole coffee thing is teaching me a lot more than I would have ever anticipated.