When I was little, I remember my dad making coffee for holidays, family gatherings and the occasional lazy Sunday morning. It wasn’t the usual instant coffee he’d enjoy during weekdays, it was the product of an on-the-stove thingamabob that seemed to take forever.
I’d stare at the contraption, knowing that my gaze wouldn’t make it do its job any faster. I usually wouldn’t partake of it when the adults did, but the process leading up to its consumption by others was always a little fascinating.
“Is it ready yet?” I’d ask.
“No,” my dad would say. “It needs to percolate.”
“You’ll see,” he’d continue. “It’ll perk. You can see it start to bubble up right there in the dome.”
Over the years, the word has taken on alternate pronunciations. “Perk-yoo-late” has become all too common, and I recently heard, “per-kally-ate.” (Really?) I want to bestow my childhood memories of the stove-top percolater to those who utter such atrocities.
The coffee would finally start to bubble up, but it wasn’t ready just yet — it always needed to go a little longer so that the coffee strength was just right. What I thought was a process that took forever was, in reality, a process that was exactly as it should be. Take it off too soon, and it’s no good. Leave it on too long, and it’s still no good. Give it time, be patient, watch its progress closely, and all can be right with the world.
Good lessons for life.
Tonight I am thankful for the lessons a stove-top coffee percolator can teach and for its encouragement to give everything time. Time to get better, time to be just right, and time to exercise patience.