Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Doing Things the Hard Way

We sold Nicaraguan coffee again as a fund raiser for our next trip to Nicaragua this coming year to help install our third Living Waters for the World water purification system, at a church this time. I picked the coffee up once again at Fara Coffee, the Nicaraguan distributor’s office in Austin. When we ran out of Starbucks recently, my husband, John, bought a package of the regular for him and the decaf for me. Only in America can you get decaf Nicaraguan coffee. Decaf coffee is an oxymoron to Nicaraguans. This year it turned out the decaf coffee was whole beans, not ground.

This is a long explanation for why I’ve been doing things the hard way to make my morning coffee of late: grinding the beans instead of simply spooning the grounds out and into the little plastic filter for my Keurig.  I’ve realized some things because of this process. First, grinding the beans takes longer and slows me down. It takes time to dump the beans into the electric grinder, grind the coffee to the right consistency, not too coarse, but not too fine either, or the water will not percolate through the filter. Then I have to brush the remains out of the grinder. I have to allow more time to make a cup of coffee, and the process slows down my usual morning rush—a good thing most days.

I’ve also realized that I love the rich, fresh smell of the whole beans, much more fragrant than coffee that’s already been ground. And the brewed coffee tastes richer and fresher as well. Each morning, the aroma of the beans transports me back to Nicaragua. I see the coffee trees clinging to the hillsides along the dirt roads in the mountains, and the people climbing the steep hills to harvest the beans. The most important thing I’ve realized because of this change in my routine is that fussing with the beans to make my morning coffee reminds me of those sisters and brothers who toil long hours in challenging conditions to make my morning cup of coffee a reality. I know they are not paid a lot for the picking, and they don’t get to drink the finest coffee because the best beans are exported. They drink what is left over, the dregs if you will.

As I think of them in this Christmas season, I remember they are the kind of people with whom Jesus spent much of his time, the poor and the vulnerable--the ones who were considered unimportant in their culture. They are still among us today, the ones our culture considers unimportant--the ones who harvest our food, and cook and clean and do other jobs we would rather not. We who claim to follow Jesus need to see these sisters and brothers and to do what we can to make their lives better. For me that’s helping provide them with Living Water to drink.

Grace and Peace,

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