Last week I introduced the theme for this year, which is “It’s Still Not About Me.” I came across a story that I thought does a good job of illustrating what our theme is about this year. I have changed the story oh so slightly to make it a little more “Dalatish.”
A group of Dalat dorm alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their former dorm parents, the Weidemanns. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, Uncle Brian went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot and a number of different kinds of cups — porcelain, plastic, glass, etc., some plain-looking while others beautiful and expensive — telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
After all the former students had a cup of coffee in hand, Uncle Brian said: “If you noticed, all the nice-looking and 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 eyeing each other’s cups.
“Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the 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 us.”
God brews the coffee, not the cups . . . enjoy your coffee.
We can often fall into the trap of focusing on the cup and not the “coffee.” As I mentioned last week, the media and advertising that is all around us is telling us that life is all about the cup — what we have, wear, drive. At Dalat we want our students to focus on the “coffee” — things like character, morals and values, serving others before yourself, servant leadership, compassion, humility, etc. Our hope is that our students will begin to focus not on what is on the outside, the cup, but what is on the inside, the coffee.