I will do almost anything to get JD to set the coffee for the next morning. For some reason, I hate setting the coffee. We have a really spiffy coffeemaker that grinds and brews our coffee, and it’s relatively simple to clean and set. But I loathe the process., and I’ve already thought about how to weasel out of it tonight.
I’ve been thinking for awhile about why I hate it. I mean, there are other ordinary, everyday things that I don’t mind doing such as laundry, cooking, and washing my hair. I thought perhaps it was the leftover ground coffee sticking to my fingers, but I really think it’s the fact that it has to be set every night. It’s always on my nightly to-do list.
Because I encounter this struggle every night, it’s part of my ordinary. It’s a fixed part of my day. It’s a practice I share with millions of people.
Sara Groves has this song called “Setting Up the Pins” that recounts the many things she has to do each day as a mom and wife. The refrain is what I hum when I have to do things like set my coffee:
Everyone everywhere some way, some how
Is setting up the pins for knocking them down
It can feel simple, but it’s really profound
Setting up the pins for knocking them down
There are daily practices that build on themselves each day such as praying, brushing teeth, and talking to a spouse. But there are also daily practices that provide only for the day like setting the coffee.
For me, coffee is intricately linked to being with God in the dark hours of the mornings. I sip my coffee each day as I read about Solomon and scribble down thoughts. This association in my mind has made me look for the profound in this seemingly mundane activity.
I can’t set the coffeemaker to brew all of the coffee I’ll need for the week because that wouldn’t make for delicious, fresh coffee. Likewise, I can’t pray tomorrow morning and expect that to sustain and comfort me for weeks.
The focus is on today. What will I need today? While sitting in God’s presence every day is a practice that builds intimacy with God over time, it’s also important just for today because today is where and when I am right now.
I heard once that God won’t give us dying grace on days that we’re not dying. He gives us the grace we need right now. I’ve often thought about that concept–that I can’t stock up on things like grace, strength, and peace.
So my coffee is set for tomorrow. Just 4 cups for JD and me. Even after thinking about it as a symbol of something more, I still hated every moment of it. But I know it matters.
It seems really simple, but it’s really profound.
What piece of ordinary are you celebrating today?