My wife says that I’m relational to a fault. She told me earlier that I may too often make decisions based on how they will affect others rather than what is best for me. Perhaps I am TOO concerned about others’ feelings at the expense of my own.
I was considering this today, alone in my house, working from home in my office downstairs, when I made myself some coffee and the machine made an anxious gurgling sound as it finished filling my cup. And I suddenly felt bad for making coffee because I instinctively interpreted the noise it made as the cup of coffee being scared. It hadn’t existed a moment ago, and now, here it was, warm, spinning slowly in a glass with cream and sugar, terrified of why it might be there and what was going to happen. Without even thinking, I gently picked it up and carried it to my desk explaining, out loud, the entire way about what he was and why he was here and explaining exactly what was going to happen to him in the next fifteen to twenty minutes of his life. “I can’t take back that you are here,” I told him, struggling to make eye contact with something that doesn’t have eyes, “But I can promise that your life has great purpose and will bring me much joy, which is more than most things in this world can hope for. And although your time here will be brief, every second of it will be treasured and honored, from your hot beautiful youth, all the way down to the gritty dregs left 6-inches deep at the bottom of the cup. I will love you to the end. I promise you that.”
And it seemed content and perhaps even proud, and because I could convince myself that it was content, I could be content as well. And finally, slowly, I allowed myself to cradle the mug in both of my hands as I took one sip, eyes closed, like I was planting a kiss on the cheek of a newborn baby.
And it was awful. Just a very bad cup of coffee. Something was really terribly wrong with this cup of coffee. Like, the machine hadn’t made coffee at all but had rather injected hot acidic motor oil into the cup by mistake. I was holding a ceramic bowl full of diesel fuel mixed with milk. But I knew, the frightened young cup of coffee was watching and hoping with all its heart that I would be pleased with its humble contribution to my life so that its existence wouldn’t be in vain. I had convinced him that he was special and beautiful. How could I take that away from him now? So, I forced myself to smile and say, “Mmm. So nice…” And only now that the cursed bucket of slime is finally gone can I tell you how much I regret my creation.
So, maybe my wife is right. Perhaps I do put too much emphasis on how my actions will affect others. Or maybe she’s simply misinterpreting my insanity. Because I drank a bad cup of coffee this afternoon that I made myself while alone in my home because I was worried someone would be offended if I didn’t.