Monday, April 25, 2011

Spilling Hope: Decaffeinated.

I just read my blog stats and my most viewed post was the one wherein I discussed the last person I kissed. That post received 167 views. The post with the next largest amount of views was 22. My friend Chrissie says that people like reading about other people getting lip action. I'm afraid the post disappointed some people as it wasn't too salacious. 

Well, it not be as sexy, but I have had many thoughts about Spilling Hope the past couple days. Spilling Hope is an initiative my church began two years ago that asks us all to simplify our lives and from the savings of that simplification to give generously to a clean water campaign that drills wells in Africa. We work with an organization called Living Water International that drills and repairs the wells in the communities of Uganda, and this year we are expanding our partnership with Uganda by working with World Relief to empower churches to be agents of change. It's an exciting time!

This year I have decided to give up coffee as part of Spilling Hope. At first it was going to just be purchased coffee, but today I decided it would be all coffee. I never used to buy coffee, but two things have happened the past couple months to make it a once and sometimes twice daily habit. 1) I nanny 3 days a week for 2 hours quite early in the morning. I take the bus downtown and from there take another bus to my nanny family's house. However, there is a wait time of about 20 minutes until my second bus comes. And there is a Starbucks right next to said bus stop. So, I've been sitting and reading my Bible while enjoying a cup of coffee or some tea. 2) Neptune Coffee right near my work serves up a delicious cup, so to chase the memory of Starbucks from my brain, I often get a latte from Neptune. 3) I discovered that coffee + steamed whole milk = heaven. 

Today I'll be looking up how much I've spent on coffee over the past 50 days and donate that amount to Spilling Hope. It's going to be really embarrassing. So, why give up all coffee? Mainly because of what coffee represents to me. It represents comfort, convenience, and entitlement. Why shouldn't I get to have a latte? Don't I deserve it? Isn't it my right to spend my money on whatever I want?

In short, no, it isn't. It's become exceedingly easier to justify spending $3-$8 on beverages than it has been for me in the past. I used to get excited to buy a latte once a week, and now it is a part of my daily routine. It is a poor financial choice for me. I rarely have perfect ease with my finances, which means I don't tithe 10% of my income, and I don't pay as much on my student loans each month as I would like. But...I'm able to afford $80 a month in coffee? 

Spilling Hope for me this year is about sacrificing some of my comfort and convenience, because I'm acknowledging that the health and comfort of others takes priority. I already feel like this year the practice will be transformative and actually lead to some long lasting changes rather than a one-time commitment.