I receive a daily joke email from guy on the internet named Pastor Tim and included in each of these is a daily illustration. Sometimes these are funny, sometimes more thought provoking. Last Thursday (2/5/09) he sent this one:
"A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
After all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it's just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and then began eyeing each other's cups."
Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.
Enjoy your coffee. Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections."
To me this hit home on two different levels. Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I love tea and frou frou coffee. Every day I'm at work (at the office anyway, not so much when I'm teaching) I have a huge mug of tea on my desk that is constantly refilled throughout the day. The design of the cup has long been a source of joy for me. Color, shape, weight, size--these are all elements of the design that I look at when purchasing a new cup for tea. I prefer large size cups (because then I don't have to refill them so often) but the color, shape and weight are very subjective. The color/design has to make me happy every time I see it, the shape and weight have to feel right.
On another level, as I move through life and reach each different stage (or situation) I learn something new (Good news, right??) and lately I am learning that happiness doesn't mean that there aren't bad things in life, it just means that I am able to be happy/content in spite of the different things that aren't "just so".
I like this illustration set forth by Pastor Tim (note: not Tim Neufeld) because it reminds me not to focus so hard on the cup that I forget to enjoy the coffee...so, although my blog is currently titled "Living the Life I love" it could also be called "Working every day to Enjoy the coffee"...