I've spent the past few days all over New York City doing cleanup in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. Our team has been on Long Island, Staten Island, and even Harlem as we try our best to help this area recover from one of the largest storms in recent memory. Today, we had the afternoon off after we finished work in Marcus Garvey park, and our intrepid young volunteers were set loose on the city. It was exciting seeing three first-timers set off on a quest to see everything New York has to offer in one afternoon, but didn't want any part of joining them. All I wanted was a good cup of hot coffee.
If you don't know me very well, you need to understand something: besides traveling and eating, nothing lights my candle like finding the best coffee shop in town. That, and stoking the vibrant mystical fire from the Holy Spirit that dwells deep inside of me, of course. I texted a coffee-loving friend of mine named Nate and asked him if he knew of any shops in New York. Of course he did. He informed me of a particularly good cup served at Grumpy Cafe in Brooklyn. I looked at my trusty subway map and realized it was going to take four trains and 50 minutes to get from where I was staying to the coffee I needed.
A good cup of pour-over coffee is an exact science. Each cup is brewed individually as the brewer carefully measures the water, weighs the grounds, and meticulously brings them together. It's a chemical symphony that takes about five to ten minutes to complete, with only about three minutes of actual brew-time. Nothing about this process can be rushed and no one would mistake it for fast or easy.
In total, I spent over an hour between wanting coffee and receiving coffee. I traveled almost 10 miles and under a river to get a cup of coffee.
After watching the cup fill and finally taking it from behind the counter and letting it roll around my tongue for a split second before falling down my throat, I decided I'd have gone 40 miles further for the same cup. Not to say the cup itself was the point, because it wasn't. The journey getting it was far more important.
The best things in life require us to slow down. Reflection and gratefulness go hand in hand. A friend of mine recently took a job after being unemployed for several months. My only advice to her was to think back on everything that happened leading up to that interview, to let the story of her past few months roll around on her tongue, and then finally digest it. As she starts a new journey, the only way to fully appreciate it is to slow down and to reflect.
Once you see how loose ends have found their place together around your life, you can't help but be overwhelmed with a spirit of gratefulness. When you enter into a place where you are grateful for each moment leading to the next, you have captured what living life to the fullest is all about. You've begun to digest life.