We have this fabulous new coffee maker. I love it. It makes great coffee…when it has a filter. I discovered first hand yesterday morning what happens when there is no filter. The grounds clog the filter basket and the ensuing flood of coffee, water and grounds is enough to put even the perkiest morning person in a foul mood. I, by the way, am not a perky morning person…especially when my morning coffee is spread all over my kitchen counter and floor!
After cleaning the mess, finishing the tasks of the morning (and my husband bringing me Starbucks coffee to make up for the last of our coffee that I covered the kitchen with), we headed out the door. As I was driving to work, God did what he so often does for me. He took an everyday thing, a frustrating thing and decided to teach me a little something.
You know those people who have no filter? You know the filter I’m talking about. The one between the brain and the mouth? We all know at least one of them, probably more. People who say anything with out thought. People who speak without thinking and without regard for the consequence of their words. If we’re being honest, at times we all lack a filter. At times our emotions or circumstances completely bypass our filter.
As I replayed the image of the overflowing mess of coffee, water and grounds spreading across my kitchen, I couldn’t help but “see” the effects of no-filter-words. When someone speaks without a filter, the words overflow. The mess covers everything. But, like the mess in my kitchen, the “clean up” isn’t easy or quick. Coffee, like the words, gets on, under, around and through everything (or everyone) in its path. Just when you think the clean up is done, you find some place else that needs some scrubbing. Even on the inside of the coffee maker. Even on the inside of the person.
Our words have long-lasting effects. Our filter-free speaking doesn’t “clean up” with a few paper towels and some 409. Even after the apology (if there is one) that cleans up the outside, the words often sink into the inside, where the “clean up” takes longer. Where the hurt can linger.
This morning when I made our coffee, I made sure there was a filter. Today as I speak, I pray that my filter stays in place. That my words don’t damage. That my words taste as sweet leaving my mouth as my perfectly prepared cup of coffee.