For the Love of Coffee

posted June 30th, 2011 by John B.

Every now and then I get this e-mail that has this story in it, and it’s always a pleasant reminder of how much I love coffee. Enjoy the story and have a cup of coffee…

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough to accomplish your goals, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They unanimously agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty air spaces between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.  The sand is everything else—the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are really important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the garbage disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.”  The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a good friend.”

-Author unknown to me.

When I went to Officer Candidate School, we had to memorize these inspirational posters on the walls of our room for room inspections.  The one I remember to this day was a poster with a father and son fishing out of a boat as the sun was rising in the background.  The caption at the bottom read, “Nobody on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office.”  How true is that!  I see a number of my corporate and military colleges staying late when they didn’t really need too.  Even at home they worry about issues they can’t control.  Work will always be work, so learn to enjoy every moment that makes you HAPPY!  I oftern recite the serenity prayer of, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Semper Fi & GOD Speed.

John-

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One Response to “For the Love of Coffee”

  1. Ted Wachsmuth says:

    John – Thanks for sharing that story. I am glad you are someone who will make time for coffee with a friend.