Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brewed, not rushed

I'm told that smells have the power to evoke powerful memories and one of those smells in  my life is fresh brewed coffee.  Every morning of my high school days started with my dad drinking his morning cup of coffee and, although I don’t drink it, the smell always reminds me of those mornings.

My dad had one of the oldest drip coffee makers known to mankind. In fact, it may have been the original.  As I remember it, the coffee grounds would be placed in an upper chamber and boiling water would be poured in and slowly the water would seep through the grounds and collect in the lower chamber as coffee.  It may have taken a while for the process, but for him it was well worth the wait.

I often wonder how my dad would take to these modern cup-at-a-time-in-a-minute coffee  makers we have today. He would likely say something like,  "Son, it takes time to make a good cup of coffee.   Trying to make a cup of coffee in a minute just doesn't work."  And, " You might have a cup of brown water there but is it really worth drinking?"  I suspect he would ask for his old drip coffee maker. 

Now those modern cup-at-a-time-in-a-minute coffee makers may do the trick and my father's response may be way off base, but his logic may still be true.  Some things need to take some time.  Some things need to percolate.  Sometimes when things are rushed the results may be less than ideal.

James, the brother of Jesus and author of the New Testament letter that bears his name, reminds believers that there are at least two things that are better when not rushed.  He says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."  Speech and anger should never be rushed into.  They need to be brewed not hurried.

My experience and observation prove that to be so true.  The words I would like to retract are most often words that have rushed through my lips rather than having spent their proper time in my mind.  Anger has been destructive when it is reactive rather than thoughtful.  James would later say in the same letter that an untamed tongue has the destructive power of an uncontrolled fire.

The smell of coffee reminds me of those cold New England mornings and the time it took my dad to brew himself a good cup of joe.  It also reminds me that some things take time.  That smell reminds me that words and anger are two of those commodities that really aren't worth the effort until they have had ample time to percolate.  James' words ring true: Be slow to speak and slow to become angry.