Motivated by one of my favorite quotes, “my circumstance may not change but my perspective can,” I posted an article called Misery Poker in last week’s Dalat News. This week I am again motivated by this quote but this time I am posting a story about a cup of coffee. I also took the liberty to “dalatize” the story a little bit.
A group of Dalat alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their favorite high school English teacher, Mr. John Tompkins (Tommy). The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
…my circumstance may not change but my perspective can…
Offering his guests coffee, Tommy went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot 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, Tommy said: “If you noticed, all the nice-looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is a 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 noticing each other’s cups.”
Life is the coffee and our jobs, money, and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life…
Now consider this: Life is the coffee and our jobs, 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 God has provided. Savor the coffee, not the cups.
We can often fall into the trap of focusing on the cup and not the “coffee.” The media and advertising that surrounds us is saying that life is all about the cup. At Dalat we try to focus on the “coffee” – things like character, morals and values, serving others first, servant leadership, compassion, humility, etc. Our hope is that we will not focus on what is on the outside, the cup, but what is on the inside, the “coffee.”
Hoping your cup of coffee this weekend is rich and flavorful.