February 01, 2005

Java Jives

I've been without coffee for three days. That should not be news if not for the truth that I have been a serious coffee drinker since 1985; by serious, I mean an average of eight mugs a day.

My coffeless days started quite inauspiciously.

Last Saturday I woke up early to get ready for our Evangelization Training Day and discovered that I had ran out of coffee beans and that there was not a trace of instant coffee in the house. Because I needed to get out early, I thought of just making a quick beeline for the nearest McDonalds for a drive through (their coffee is as thin as paper but that's how badly I crave coffee). But traffic prevented me from doing that. During the day, I "forgot" about coffee--something that has never happened before. So I started and ended Saturday without a drop of coffee in my system.

Sunday, I woke up dehydrated; and since there was no coffee at home, I had to "orange juice up" to hydrate myself. Possibly because of withdrawal, my head was aching the whole day so the prospect of driving out to buy coffee was not appealing. I left the house only late afternoon to go to mass at UP but, somehow, it never occurred to me to get coffee even if Starbucks was nearby. So I also started and ended Sunday without any coffee in my system.

Today, I woke up feeling better. I had my prayer time and the Lord led to me to a familiar phrase--"my grace is sufficient for you" that led me to take stock of what I am and where I am now. I realized that one reason I was finding difficulty with joy was that I had not been living on grace but on crutches; I had depended for so long on things that were not from God to keep me going. Affirmation from people, material rewards, indulgences--like coffee--had fueled my life for so long. I loved to tell people that if I didn't get two cups of coffee in my system at the start of the day, I wasn't "formally awake yet." Yet, I had been without coffee for two whole days and I was well. The Lord reminded me that "my grace is sufficient for you" means exactly that; I did not need two cups of coffee to sustain me, I needed just an ounce of His grace. That familiar phrase never felt so real to me until today--after two coffeeless days. I decided, consciously, that I would try to extend my streak to three coffeeless days. So far, I'm almost done with my day and I'm okay so far.

I know that I will eventually drink coffee--I'm human after all. But I suppose what the past three days has taught me is to not to lean on my crutches. I know, in my heart if not in my mind, that coffee is a false "grace" and that I don't really need it for my day to begin; just like today, I started with prayer and no coffee.

If I do take coffee at all in the next few days, it will be just for the usual reasons--eggs taste great with coffee and pandesal!--but definitely not for the reasons I took coffee before--the false notion that I could not live without it.

Hi, my name is Ted, and I'm a recovering coffee junkie!

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