Most of the world believes that in order to have a conversation, wake up, or do anything, you need coffee.
I had no idea that coffee held the world together, until I stopped drinking it.
The coffee Bible (Pinterest) says:
- Running is made possible by a coffee grace infusion. (This girl runs on coffee and grace.)
- Coffee gives Jesus a super boost. (All I really need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.)
- You will find patience in the bottom of a coffee cup. (I think my patience is at the bottom of this coffee cup, hang on while I find it.)
- You won’t need to hire a life coach, you have one. (You can do it. –Coffee)
- You can know at least one thing is certain in your life with coffee. (The only thing I know for certain about this day is coffee. Everything else is just wild speculation. –Nana Hoffman)
- You can be legal because of coffee. (Coffee—because crack is bad for you.)
- You can do more things after coffee. (First I drink the coffee, then I do the things.)
- You will feel understood while drinking coffee. (Coffee doesn’t ask silly questions—coffee understands.)
- Water was created to make coffee. (Water is the most essential element to life—without it you can’t make coffee.)
- You will have a bad day without coffee. (I went a day without coffee once. Worst. Day. Ever.)
- You will work better together with coffee. (Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break. – Earl Wilson)
- Nothing else can work until there is coffee. (But first, coffee.)
- You were cool before you knew you were cool when you drank coffee. (I drank coffee before it was cool.)
- You will be filled with wonder when you smell coffee’s aroma. (Coffee smells like magic and fairy-tales. – Allison Czarnecki)
The coffee Bible says, it will be tough to survive one single day without it.
Coffee can be the safety when things don’t work.
Coffee fixes things. And if it doesn’t fix the things, at least it provides a time warp to escape the things for a few minutes.
But what if you don’t have it?
What if you tried existing without it?
What if your inner wild animal, the one beneath the coffee façade, could roam free?
What if you knew that you wouldn’t cease to exist, ruin your life, or doing anything too psycho or shameful while surviving on the edge of the planet with water while everyone else is running fully caffeinated through it?
That what if turned into a why not for me personally and now I’m one day away from a full 365 days of being coffee free.
I think people would prefer me caffeinated.
But maybe they wouldn’t.
Maybe they don’t.
When the person under the coffee has the ability to live in a different story.
JUST WATER became my anthem at ording counters and also an attempt to keep me focused on the task ahead, which would be creating a movement for youth to fight injustice together with the church.
I wanted to drink the safe water I had to remember and focus on the safe water people still needed. It grew into more than just a rally for me, it has become the heart of a movement.
It wasn’t easy for those who joined me.
Because, like I said, people believe that coffee runs the entire universe. I’m pretty sure Luke Skywalker survived his mountain seclusion because he had the force and coffee with him.
But it doesn’t really run the universe and there are a few things that may be worth the sacrifice. Clean water is one of them. And I’m thankful for every person who participated in JUST WATER this year.
The people who said they were going to move to the highways and hedges and leave the caffeine in it’s cup got to experience the work that can change more things than our coffee drinking could.
By the numbers, we really were few, but by the lives changed, we can’t count them. We can’t know. Because ripples make rivers, and rivers lead to oceans, and every drop matters.
You can be as certain as the caffeine in your cup of coffee.
Small acts of love equal great rivers of mercy.
I remember talking to my friend Lilliana who prayed for days about the decision to leave her coffee culture for a year. She lives in Argentina where the traditional caffeine rich infused drink (mate) has been declared by law as the national coffee infusion.
How could she give this up? It’d be like giving up relationships, or, breathing.
But she wanted to do it. And she has, for an entire year. And so many like her around the world. I’m humbled to join them, walk with them, work with them. Their faces are young and bold, grit is their middle name, because it takes grit to move into a different story than the one they have always known.
And the movement will keep going, 2016 and beyond.
We may have felt a little defeated, a little apprehensive, a little crazy, but at the end of the day we all felt courage.
Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway, and see it through no matter what. –Harper Lee
We were licked before we started, but we are seeing it through.
I realized that I wasn’t going to convince ALL of the youth pastors and ALL of the students that this was the best choice they could make in their lives and youth ministries this year. But I was going to inspire and resource some of them.
My story would change a few stories, just enough stories for some incredible and miraculous things to transpire, including being able to fund and begin a full water, sanitation, and education program in a community in Sri Lanka (including a well, bathroom facilities, and hand washing education).
I thought about starting my own fundraising campaign for the year with JUST WATER, but I feel like it was more important for you to see, get to know, and read the stories of hundreds of teenagers around the world who are being the CHURCH as it was meant to be.
In honor of my just water journey, I’m asking my friends to journey with these students today. Thank you for your support. I appreciate it deeply. But if you want to give, give to them, the just move.
Read their blogs, comment on their journey, and if you want, give to them because they are making huge sacrifices.
They are setting the example and leading the way. They’re not letting anyone think less of them because they are young. But they’ve actively become example to all believers in what they say, in the way that they live, in their love, their faith, and their purity.
If purity of heart is to will one thing—then they have willed it. They have decided to give their time, voice, and effort to partnering with the Church to find clean water solutions for people who need them most.
If I could ask for one thing to come of this 365 day journey, I would ask that you get to know them, the students behind what has become THE JUSTICE MOVEMENT. They are the church looking for justice to flow like a river. They are the voice of love that begs for us adults to join them in their passions.
I gave a year to water.
But I’m giving this year back to them.
To the ones who have faith to believe stories can change for good.
It’s more than a tax deduction. You’ve still got one day left this year to get one. It’s a lifetime of lives changed that we’re living for.
These students and youth groups have created a space in their lives for compassion at another level, compassion that leaves his or her comfort to seek out solutions.
I think it was Mo Williams who said, “If you ever find yourself living in the wrong story, leave.”
It’s time for me to leave my Starbucks story and enter into a different one. One where I could still enjoy Starbucks occasionally but one where I know the value of something deeper than a the grounds of a coffee bean, but the value of a life that has been changed because someone cared.
Thank you 2015 for giving me every person on the JUST WATER journey. They have changed my life and my heart forever.