There’s that new book out, Money Can Buy Happiness, and when I heard that title I just rolled my eyes. But my friend, Beth, described it as a financial plan that helps you put your money where your greatest joy is, and to recognize that it’s kind of not about quantity, but quality. I told her, “I would just buy coffee.” My morning coffee–two cups of hazlenut–is sacred. It’s the way I convene with friends in sacred conversation, it’s a way of showing my boyfriend that I love him, and today coffee made me tear up.
About ten minutes into talking with an elderly women with leukemia on the 8th floor, this little lady was wrapping up our conversation saying, “Thanks for coming by to see me. Oh, by the way, would you go heat up my coffee? It’s already cold.” Probably not a proud pastoral care moment, by any means, but after I pulled the coffee out of the microwave and came back to the woman’s room, she thanked me and I overheard her as I was leaving the room, saying over the phone to her daughter, “She warmed up my coffee for me.” And it really sounded like joy–it sounded like warming up that coffee for her–so simple for me to do–was a simple gift that she appreciated perhaps more than any of my words. The excitement and joy in her voice echo in my ears, and I’m so glad I was there, just to warm up that coffee.