Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peace without coffee

Now that's advertising!
My daily haunt is a little coffeehouse smack dab in the middle of my college town. The building is made to replicate the cafes of old, with giant brass espresso mechanisms, cracked bricks, old bicycles, and creaky wooden floors. Like most folks, the fragrant aromas of coffee and chai draw me from the “world outside,” in which I live life as a disheveled undergrad, to the world of “coffeehouse,” in which I am instantaneously at ease.

I think this is an atmosphere of peace. Everything, from the consciously chosen mood music, to the continual bombardment of herbal fragrances on our persons brings some semblance of calmness to each of our senses. It is all meant to produce a micro-environment of peace so as to draw our busyness out of life… and maybe turn a profit.

It’s funny how we as people can invent our own version of pseudo-peace. We crave this quiet environment now more than many other sources of sustenance. Life is loud, and our worries are urgent. To cloister ourselves in a giant coffee box from the constant upheavals life tends to throw at us is now a viable business model.

Peace is commercial. Peace is consumable. Peace is now “supply and demand.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the social possibilities coffee joints offer to us as communal beings. A warm drink and a strong sense of comfort have been of utmost importance in many powerful interactions, revelations, and epitomes in this short, idealistic life of mine. I’m not attacking the coffeehouse industry itself, nor am I leveling anything at any individual shop. Instead, I feel it important to examine why I, and so many others, manufacture peace as a commodity.

There is no command more repetitive in Scripture than “do not fear.” In fact, those exact words are used nearly 365 times throughout both Testaments. For the Christ-inclined, life is meant to be in a constant state of anti-worry. Lack of restraint gives birth to life in its fullest, most meaningful form. Faith in God and trust in humanity save us from fear.

I’m sad that I forget this so often. I’m sad my consumptive, anesthetized culture draws me away from the satisfaction and contentment that is produced from living for others. And, most disappointing of all, I’m sad we settle for peace in consciously constructed environments.

Find peace in who you are, and in who God made you to be. It’s never bad to be active, but life isn’t about doing every single task in existence you can before you die. It is instead about doing the small things for others that build upon themselves until they crash into society as a giant wave of contagious love. There you will find peace everywhere you go. You no longer have to rely solely on a coffeehouse for your soul’s refreshment.

Stupefied at how much he spends on coffee,

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