Day 3: Pace / by Jeff Tacklind

             I love coffee.  It is what gets me up early, when it is still dark outside.  I love the aroma, the warmth, the dark bitterness of the beans and the richness of the cream.  Until recently, my prep time has been right before I go to bed.  Grind the beans, pour the water, set the timer.  I wake up and there, magically, is a full pot of coffee.

            That is until a couple weeks ago, when Patty bought me a beautiful Chemex coffee maker for Valentine’s day.  Now, I know pour over coffee is all the hipster rage…but seriously, it makes the most amazing cup of coffee!  Everything about it is richer and deeper.  So much more aroma, flavor, aesthetic.  It just takes way longer and is much less convenient. 

            Instead of waking up to a fresh pot of coffee, I must begin by first boiling the water, followed by measuring and grinding beans. Then I wait, and wait, until that little thermometer hits the red zone.  And then I pour.  Slowly.  Patiently.  Swirling the beans.  Pouring again.

            Sometimes impatiently.  This is taking too long!  I’m barely awake!  Suddenly my Cuisinart 12 cup drip maker sounds wonderfully convenient.

            But the aroma pulls me back in.  It smells so rich.  It builds anticipation.  And as I wait, I find myself with moments to breath, to pray, to be pulled into the present instead of rushing ahead to the fury of the day.

            It has become a bit of a calm within the storm.  Soon my kids are swirling around me, getting ready for school, packing lunches, stuffing backpacks, munching cereal.  The slow pace of my morning allows for gentler responses, non-anxious presence, and peace.

            The slow cup of coffee has become a wonderful metaphor for the contemplative pace of life.  There is an invitation in the slowness.  The moments I so quickly rush through each day become some of the deepest and most meaningful. 

            Lent invites us to slow down.  We enter into the desert, which is the time for listening, for reflecting, for looking inward.  It is in the desert that we hear the still, small voice of God.  As the pace of our life slows, there is an increase in clarity, in sensitivity, and in presence.  We begin to notice, to savor, and to cherish the goodness of what we have and the anticipation of what is to come.