My wife asked me to show her how I make her lattes on the new espresso machine today. I walked her through the mechanics of the thing. I talked through the steps of coffee production. But I also shared with her the art of it. 

At first blush that may seem silly. I mean, it’s coffee. 

But in the deepest parts of my being and for as long as I can remember I have looked for the art and beauty in everything. That has served me well on this journey and also kept me out of some career paths that don’t align with that view. 

Today, as I excitedly made her latte and experienced the joy of an interested audience, I thought about all the things in my world I see as art. 

I used to be a building/remodeling contractor. I was told once that I should go to college. I tried college. Wasn’t a good fit. I love reading and learning, but the factory-like setting of formal education is stifling. Building “stuff” out of wood? That’s different. I was connected to the art of the building trades long before I was consciously in touch with that. I loved it. Still do. 

And so when I was in the field full time with tool belts on I sometimes took more time on this or that detail. Why? Because it mattered. I wanted the finished product to speak to me in some way. I wanted the work to have a voice of it’s own that I got to play a part in bringing out. 

But it’s not just making.

Years ago, when I still hunted deer regularly, I was sitting in my tree stand during late archery season. I was hunting alone that day and had the woods entirely to myself. It was afternoon and I sat motionless with my bow in my lap…waiting on a deer to fill our freezer. 

Without warning the light wind stopped and it began to snow. The air was still and the snow flakes were huge and plentiful. I was in awe of the moment. The peace. The beauty. The connection with everything around me. 

As the colors in the sky started to send yellow and orange light through the woods I noticed three deer less than 30 yards from me. They didn’t see me. I had a clear shot on any of them. I remained still. Eventually they walked on down the hill to eat what corn was left by the harvester.

I remained still. 

My plan in going to the woods that day was to shoot a deer. But I was swept up in a beautiful moment presented by God himself in his creation. Everything about that moment was breath-taking. To have knocked an arrow and shot a deer would have been disrespectful to the gift I was given. 

I sat in that tree until just past dark. It still remains one of the most peaceful moments in my life. And my participation in that moment was simply to appreciate it and to not disturb it. I took my part seriously.  

My wife and I have picked up nature photography as a hobby too. Yes photography is art, but we’re really capturing art and pulling it off of God’s canvas through our lens. It’s capturing the beauty we see and as we see it so we can share it. 

Landscaping hits me the same way. Painting does too. (not paintings…more of a wall or a room). Playing guitar, which I’ve started doing again, digs deep into my soul…the way music is supposed to. 

Even cleaning the kitchen can be artful. Mowing the lawn certainly is. I do different patterns and I know it’s good for the grass. But really, it’s good for me. 

 

And so back to the coffee. 

Yes, one could argue that it’s just coffee. But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the beauty in that? For that matter, where’s the art in that? What fun is there in hitting the brew button and coming back in five minutes to fill your cup? 

Today I shared how to make a latte and a Cuban coffee with my wife but I really shared so much more. I shared a moment of art with my wife, and when we share that with another, we let them into our private place…even if just for a moment.