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10 July 2008

Identical Coffee Makers, Different Java

I have a curious situation.

I own two coffee makers of the identical model, the Melitta One:One ("One to One") single-cup pod coffee maker. (Lest you feel that owning two of these is overly indulgent, they were given to me as gifts, and they were purchased by the gift-giver at a reduced price.) One of them stays at home for me and my wife to use, and the other is on the counter top at my office.

My wife and I sampled all sorts of different pods in order to weed through the contendas (that's my northern-accented word for "contenders") and find what we believe to be The Holy Grail of Coffee Pods -- Millstone French Roast pods (yes, yes, I know the photo shows Colombian Supremo), which are intended for a different coffee maker, but are able to be crammed into the Melitta for really good coffee. We use purified water. We use a particular type of creamer. I have a ninja mojo sequence of coordinated button presses now worked out to make the perfect cup of coffee.

At home.

When I get to the office, it doesn't matter whether or not I use the perfect combination of the above elements (sorta like the "11 herbs and spices," I guess) or any other configuration; I just can't make a perfect-tasting cup of coffee! It always comes out too... well... I don't know... earthy or something. And if I adjust the recipe or button sequence, it turns out to be too weak, or just gross in other ways. Even the ninja mojo bit falls short. I'm drinking a moderately bad (but tolerable) cup o' joe here at the office as I type this.

So in two scenarios, orchestrated in a manner as identically as possible, the results of the first can't necessarily be replicated in the second.

I've found that this is also the case when I attempt to take all those great life lessons that God's used for good in my own life and try to lay them out as a template for a brother who's going through a similar or nearly identical situation. "This worked for me, therefore it will work for you," is not always an accurate statement.

Among my daily prayers are requests for knowledge -- God giving me opportunities to learn where I can be used -- and then for wisdom -- the accurate vision of how to correctly proceed in accordance with my part in God's plan. That wisdom may include how not to apply my lesson-learned to my friend's current situation. Isn't that weird?

Also, telling someone, "I know. Believe me, I went through exactly the same thing," can sometimes come across as saying, "Your problems are run-of-the-mill, and you're not really that important, but the lesson I have already learned (because I'm more mature than you) is the important thing."

Does this make sense to anyone but me?

Of course, this doesn't preclude the fact that most of the time, those lessons you've learned probably will fit perfectly into someone else's scenario, either by helping them to learn or simply by enabling you to understand or identify with their situation.

"If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." (Galatians 6:3-5, NLT)


Jan Owen said...

I think we have to truly be led by the Holy Spirit and be sensitive to how to share. Maybe an "I've been there too" can show some much needed empathy. Maybe a quick answer on how to fix and what you did wrong sounds arrogant and judgmental or negates the concern.

I think we need wisdom and genuine love and a relationship.......not just hammer them with what we think works.

And I have no idea why your coffee doesn't taste the same.......i am so sorry i can't help you!

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