Saturday, March 5, 2016

My Lenten Journey, Part 4: The Keurig

A Confession

Alright, gotta come clean here. I didn't actually give up the Keurig for Lent. If you read my post entitled Counting My Blessings then you know that I stopped using the Keurig in favor of my stovetop Moka pot several weeks before Lent began. However, there is a spiritual element to this, so I'm counting it as a part of my Lenten journey.

A Mountaintop Experience

There must be something about the mountains. It's where my husband always wants to go for vacation. I have dreams of relaxing on sandy beaches or soaking up the culture of some faraway country, but he's happy as long as there's a rustic cabin and a nice view. In fact, if he goes too long without visiting the mountains, he starts to feel restless, and we know it's time to take another mountain trip.

I frequently resist when he suggests this, thinking to myself, "we've already been there. Can't we go somewhere else?" Often we do go somewhere else, but every few years we have to go see some mountains, and when we do I begin to understand what it is that pulls my husband there again and again.

More so than any other place I have ever been, the mountains seem to have a calming effect on my soul. They make me crave simplicity in my life, in a world where things can so easily become overwhelmingly complex. This craving for simplicity is what prompted me to stop drinking Keurig coffee. Back in the fall we took a mini-vacation up to the mountains. We actually brought the Keurig with us (my husband is spoiled now and doesn't like any other kind of coffee), but I chose to make my coffee in the drip coffee maker provided in our cabin. I can't exactly remember my reasoning now but I know it had something to do with saving money as well as being more environmentally friendly. Let's face it, K-cups create an awful lot of waste. So I was thinking in the back of my mind that avoiding the Keurig is a way to do something good for our family and the world as a whole. It was the truly horrendous taste of the coffee made in the drip machine that prompted me to switch to homemade espresso when we returned from our trip.

Closer to God

Are mountains really closer to God? They reach up into the sky...up to where we imagine God to be...but do they actually reach up to God? Is it even possible to know where God is? Don't most people of faith believe God is everywhere? If God is everywhere, then the mountains are no closer to him than any other place on earth. But still, there's something about those mountains. The Bible itself acknowledges this. Where did Moses meet with God? On a mountaintop. Where did the transfiguration occur? On a mountaintop. Great things, it seems, happen on mountaintops. I know a change happens in my heart every time I come near one. Giving up the Keurig may sound trivial, and in reality it is, but it is just one manifestation of the inner peace I feel after I come down from the mountain. And that inner peace is not trivial. That inner peace is powerful.

Paying it Forward

I've been writing about how I struggle with this aspect of Lenten discipline, but I'm working to make that better. I've found a way to turn my avoidance of the Keurig into a way to give back. My church collects donations for a local food bank, so I've decided that whenever I buy my inexpensive non-Keurig coffee, I will spend the money that I save on food that I will then donate to this ministry. It's small, I know, but I'm trying.

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