“I bought a decaffeinated coffee table — you can’t even see a difference.” ~ Anonymous

“A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.” ~ Anonymous

Hey, let’s have a cuppa joe together … and then add some food for thought.  Okay?  It’s an absolutely gorgeous Fall mornin’ here in SoCal … if you can say we have “Fall” as a season.  🙂  “Fall” is defined in these parts as when the daytime temperature drops from 74 degrees to 70 degrees.  “Hot” is 80, “cold” is 60 — a far stretch from northern Arkansas where I spent much of my life, and where a typical year-long weather calendar will record temperatures all along the spectrum between -5 and +105.

The annual Avocado Festival is this weekend in Carpinteria, so there’ll be about 100,000 or so humans, give or take several thousand, to eat all kinds of guacamole, avocado ice cream, avocado salsa, and just about every way one can think of for eating those luscious natural fats, fiber and carbs densely packed inside that pear-shaped, pebbly skin.  In addition, there’ll be several bands of varying genres (and talent … or not) hitting their licks as the crowds stroll by or sit to watch, and tons of tent merchants hawking their crafts and other treasures.  A festive atmosphere and definitely good for the local economy.

So how’s your coffee?  Mine’s just what I need right along with your conversation.  (Sorry, but I’ve already had my blueberry walnut oat bar. I waited … 30 seconds … but when you didn’t show right away, I went ahead).  So here’s the second course in our food for thought :

When one spends most of his time trying to change someone else, the more probable result is that he will change himself by overlooking the greater gift of his own unique, God-given mission in life.  Can it be that changing another is never one’s God-given mission?

Ever notice how effective the political, religious, or philosophical argument is?  How many times have you ever heard one opponent in such a debate turn and say to the antagonist, “You know, you’ve got a point there.  I think you’re right.  By golly, you’ve absolutely convinced me!  Thank you so much!  I say let’s do it [or have it] your way”?  Or how many times have you known such opponents to come back to each other, even later, and one ‘fess up to the other that he was wrong all along?

Have you ever even heard one witness of such a debate turn to another listener and make a similar confession?  I’ll lay odds you’ve NEVER witnessed such an event of either stripe.  Why?  Because of the innate attributes of humans, the most congenital seems to be our common, knee-jerk resistance to acknowledging, admitting or being told we could be in error.  And if that’s the case, why do we waste so much time, worldwide, trying to change others by arguing the error of their ways?  Wouldn’t we be much better off if we just let them have/be their way, spending the majority of our own effort being or becoming who we’re destined to be?  Would that be the better test of our beliefs and convictions?  Do you believe in such a destiny?

What I’m clumsily trying to ask is whether we wouldn’t have a lot more peace and success in life if we really focused on who we are within ourselves, rather than trying to change what someone else is or seems to be?  After all, the only things we really KNOW about someone — anyone, — are those bits of knowledge that come to us directly through our own filters or, alternatively, that come to us through the filters of third parties.

Right away, we can discuss some of the permutations of this thesis; e.g., whether we should apply this across governmental and political organizations, business entities, churches, schools, — or just at home.

What do you think?  What’s your pleasure on this topic?  Care to kick it around a bit just for the sake of mutual discovery?

While you think about it, here’s another — are you ready for this? 😉 — another one of those songs that pops in my mind.  Maybe its words will be as stimulating as the coffee.

“The Preachin’ Is Easy”

From Brian Duncan’s The Last Time I Was Here CD

We met on the high road,

At a glance both lookin’ bright and shiny-clean,

In that seamless perfection from the neighbors or the ad in a magazine.

But then one slip is all it takes,

The earth is not too far away.

My friend is calling out from the peaks above,

While I’m laid out on the fertile plain.

Talkin’ to me now, saying,

“Can’t get around, you can’t get around the slippery things in life.”

Now that’s technically correct.

The preachin’ is easy, you’d better believe it!

Talkin’ is cheap in my book, help me up if you’ve read it.

I’m under pressure, under pressure, crazy pressure now makes you wanta quit.

Back on the high side, a little worse for the wear, but I’m truly tryin’.

And I’m now more forgivin’,

‘Cause I know how it feels, know what it’s like.

“Can’t get around, and you can’t get around the slippery things in life.”

Preachin’ is easy, baby, you’d better believe it!

Talkin’ to me like it’s nothin’, well talkin’ is cheap in my book,

Look me up when you’ve read it.

Under pressure, I’m under pressure.

Try walkin’ a straight line, even while you’re looking up the whole time.

There’re so many steps in the right direction,

Say you’re gonna miss one sometimes.

“You shoulda planned ahead, you shoulda turned around,

“You shoulda seen the light.”

The preachin’ is easy, you’d better believe it!

Talkin’ to me now, I say “Talking is cheap in my book,

Wake me up when you’ve read it.”

Nah, nah, nah, nah-nah.

Nah, nah, nah, nah-nah.

Nah, nah, nah, nah-nah.
I hope to hear from you on this.  I hope the coffee kicks in.

Carpe diem.  Vita brevis!

Michael

© Oct. 2009 by Michael E. Stubblefield – all rights reserved

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One thought on “Coffee Talk: Changing Others … or self?

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