A few months ago, I had a wonderful meeting over coffee with my friend Joe. But, the experience was soon tarnished when I attempted to meet my friend Tom for coffee. (See “A Cup o’ Joe or a Cup with Joe“.) As I explained earlier, when I met with Tom, everything went wrong: we met at the wrong time and the wrong place; Tom was late, ordered the wrong thing, didn’t buy my coffee; and finally we sat at the wrong table. Since Tom obviously didn’t know how to meet for coffee, I vowed then and there never to have coffee with Tom again.
I’ve learned… never say, “Never”. Well, Tom is persistent. He has been calling me week after week asking to have coffee again. For a few weeks, it was easy for me to make excuses: I had to work late… again…, I was meeting my wife, my children had Tae Kwon Do, I was sick.
But, one day, when Tom asked me for coffee and I declined, Tom asked, “What’s wrong, Alan? I get the feeling that you don’t want to spend time with me.”
I sighed and explained to Tom that our last coffee meeting did not go that well, in my opinion. He asked what went wrong, and I let everything out. Tom apologized and offered to meet me at the correct coffee shop (Starbucks!), at the correct time (5:00). He said that he would buy both of us tall cafe mocha decafs, and that we would sit at a table in a quiet corner.
Honestly, I still didn’t want to do it. But, I decided to be the more mature Christian of the two of us, and I agreed to meet with him. Everything went well. Tom arrived at Starbucks on time. He bought the correct type and size of coffee for both of us this time. We even sat at a quiet table in the back corner. I was very proud of Tom. I could tell that he was really maturing.
However, from several of the comments that he made during our coffee meeting, I could tell that he still had a long way to go. For example, at one point he asked me if I’d ever tried the coffee at other coffee shops. (Well, of course I had! I had coffee with him at one of the heretical… I mean, other… coffee shops!) Again, while we were talking about our various work situations, he mentioned that he appreciated my friendship and that spending time with me was more important than what kind of coffee we drank. (Well, hopefully soon he’ll learn how important it is to drink the right kind of coffee.)
Eventually, it was time to leave. Tom thanked me several times for meeting with him. (Obviously, he could tell that he needs to meet with a mature coffee drinker like me.) He asked if I’d like to get together with him again. I agreed.
He asked where and when I’d like to meet. I may have rolled my eyes… Apparently he didn’t learn as much as I thought. I think this friendship is going to try my patience. Then he said, “I think I can get off work a little early again next week. What if we meet next week at this Starbucks at 5:00 again. I’ll buy us some tall mocha decafs and we can sit at a table in the corner.”
He smiled. I agreed and smiled back. I think I’m rubbing off on Tom. He’s learning what it means to be a true coffee drinker.
(P.S. Something strange happened after I finished writing about my coffee meeting with Tom. Joe, the man who taught me how to have a coffee meeting, invited me for coffee on Saturday morning at a local coffee shop – not Starbucks. He said that this local shop has a great pumpkin spice coffee. I’m praying for Joe. Apparently he has backslidden.)