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Posts Tagged ‘Giving Up Coffee’

It has taken this long through Lent to get over my hump of withdrawals. The face of my heart no longer disfigured, I can finally sing the praises of fasting from something.  “Something” being my morning coffee.

The devil has done his level best to tempt me, using all five, and, yes – even my sixth sense –  to get me to stumble. Everywhere I went there were visual and auditory reminders, catching the aroma and even the feel of my eager, needy lips puckering up to the familiar tumbler on my commute, met with green tea instead. It’s better for me, anyway, but convincing my lips and my soul of this was another story.

The usual mental wranglings went on: I can quit anytime! I don’t need it, I choose it at the control of my will. (Then came Ash Wednesday…”). I don’t need it. Bad stuff. Never liked it anyway. Did me wrong. Look at how it wrecked me. Jacked me up, yanked me down, left unsightly stains, cost me plenty, etc. Then…

Okay, I need it. Must have it. Can’t have it. Must avoid it. Panic. Find replacement (green tea). Not the same. I can do this. Not as good. But plenty of antioxidants. Tastes great, less filling. Or something like that. Yeah, it IS simpler. I know I was supposed to know that.

The ultimate devil’s insult was having to share a home with a person who continues to drink coffee. In front of me. And often. Kind of like mounting a staircase up from the water in my town:

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I drew the line at cleaning up the coffee pot for him. I’m done with it now, bubba…if you want to keep drinking the stuff and trying to throw the ol’ pet sin back in my face even though I’m over it, it’s on you. It is now your addiction, not mine, and now I know no matter how many times you brew a nice big pot, I don’t need it, don’t want it, period. (P.S. – let me know when you’re ready to give it up – I’ve got a lot of good tips on Giving Up, when you’re ready. When YOU’RE ready. I’ll be waiting for ya.)

Giving something up forced me to reflect on how something comes to be meaningful to us in the first place. And of the process of letting go, whether it be for self-centered betterment or for the purpose of submitting to a higher authority. Or both. It taught me that we are made to be flexible creatures, the ultimate goal being to evolve for the better.

It taught me to re-question some of the rites in some churches which can give the impression of being outdated, antiquated or just plain silly observances which may seem designed to keep the foolish, unenlightened sheep in line, at the hands of the system. What I noticed was that at whatever point this or that church decided to institute this or that observance, there was undoubtedly some greater purpose behind the rite, designed to draw us nearer to God. SOMEBODY meant it for good.

But it only works if our heart is genuinely inclined to evolve for the better, be it for self or other purposes. No wonder so many denominations are criticized for routines which seem hollow and rote – it is because too often, we become comfortable with rote and lose perspective of our stage of personal evolution. It is only when we are jarred awake that we suddenly realize it is time to let go and move forward (and unfortunately this often comes by way of traumatic life events which trigger the panicked prayer for God to help us after days of not speaking to Him).

Rote rites lose sight.

Most rites won’t change much, and, like God, it’s not Him that needs to change – it’s us in need of focus.

Letting go IS easier than latching on. We latch on without a care, with blissful ignorance and with joyful anticipation. If we did not latch on, we would not grow. Likewise for letting go – for only through the birth and death process of latching on and letting go, the alpha and omega, do we fully grow and draw nearer to God. Only then do we know Him better by having a closer comprehension of what it means to latch on and love, even taking for granted those days, and then to give up and grieve, as Jesus did, as God was well-pleased in His Son for doing the same.

It makes us stronger, fuller and wiser. It grants us perspective we might not otherwise have had, had we been unable or unwilling to fully let go. Giving up is a strength, not a weakness, in most cases.

I am reminded of my friend who was inspired to run a marathon this year, whom I encouraged and edified every step of his training. We ran the half-mararthon last year together, and he realized if he could do that, he could do the whole thing, so he trained all this past year and finally did it.

In talking to him afterwards as he recounted his experience, he said he realized a very critical point he never would have considered had he not challenged himself to this greater height that he always knew was within his capacity, but he feared. He said come mile 20, the bedreaded mile for most first-time marathoners, he began to feel pain. Real, sharp, unavoidable pain. He faced the decision to either keep running and face likely permanent damage/disability, or sacrifice his goal time and walk.

The pain of continuing in folly won out and forced him to walk a mile or more, until he could muster the will to safely finish running. He finished with a time that mocked his original goal, but he was able to heal and to be stronger and wiser in the overall picture of what it means to give up something. That to give up is actually to gain something greater than one is able to see from the perspective of holding on. He finished safely.

What if those who hold hard and fast to their own beliefs were to take a giant leap of faith like that, to consider the possibility that there might be greater benefits on the other side of stubborn clinging?

In my caffeine-free and post-ashes & sackcloth state, I am enjoying life immensely. This was partially captured in the craziness of my last post, and now followed by a weekend of bliss. Bliss was a good book and a tall drink at the water’s edge, a taste of our next-door neighbor’s award-winning bbq after a competition and they had too many leftovers (yowza! we let his kid borrow our boat motor & other equipment today in exchange for their good stuff), warmer temps, and plenty of scenes like the one Spanish moss-draped one below, all weekend long.

Oh, and I shouldn’t leave out the small wonder of stopping by our friendly neighborhood Piggly Wiggly yesterday on the way home to get ingredients for my infamous gumbolaya, bumping into a buggy of marked-down wines from some obscure location (Cave Junction, OR – get thee behind me, Satan! ) and finding out there actually IS a red wine out there that doesn’t betray me. On the other hand, maybe we should have more than one Lent per year. For my next trick, I will try to give up lengthy posts. 😀

Peace be with you…

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