101: My Coffee Cup Epiphany

101: My Coffee Cup Epiphany

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

My Coffee Cup Epiphany

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.

~Katherine Mansfield

I had a huge epiphany the other morning. Maybe my experience will give you some food for thought.

I had gotten together with some women friends who enjoy sharing thoughts on life. We spent part of the evening discussing a book with such a funny title it makes most people smile: Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Road Maps.

Yes, men and women come into this world wired so differently it’s a wonder that relationships last as long as they do. I personally think if this book were given as a wedding gift there would be far fewer divorces.

Speaking of books, I gave a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners to a male friend who is a runner. Since my story of taking part in the Newport (Oregon) Marathon was published in that book, I took pains to autograph it for my friend. A few days later he sent an e-mail thanking me “for the loan of the book.” Loan? I e-mailed back that it was a gift and did he not see that I autographed it on the first page? He e-mailed back a very nice “thank you” and added that maybe it was a “guy thing” to not look at the first page. Whatever. So it was a guy thing. So what? No big deal. But men and women are definitely different in dozens of ways.

If you are a woman reading this, maybe you are thinking, “Oh yeah, and how come they leave the toilet seat up?” If you are a guy reading this, you might be thinking, “Sure I don’t listen — because she never shuts up, that’s why!”

During the discussion with my women’s group of the book, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, I decided to share one of my major pet peeves that my husband does — or doesn’t — which is never carrying his darn coffee cup to the kitchen even though he is going right past the kitchen on his way to somewhere else. This has bugged me for over forty years and no amount of nagging makes a bit of difference. I did not feel one bit disloyal sharing this with my women friends. Some of them chuckled as if they deal with the same thing at home.

The very next morning my weekly radio program was on the air and it was one in which my husband helped me do a funny comedy routine that sounds best with two people. An hour later the telephone rang. It isn’t unusual to get e-mails and phone calls regarding my Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, my column in the local newspaper or my weekly human-interest program on the radio.

But this call was from a dear lady I’ve known for over twenty years. She lost her husband not long ago (a sixty-year marriage) and this is what she said on the phone: “Bobbie, I loved the show you and Burt did together this morning. Don’t ever stop appreciating him and what a blessing it is that you have each other!”

Her words smacked me between the eyes. I hung up the phone and sat there staring at our two empty coffee cups. As usual, my husband had wandered off and, as usual, the only way those cups would make it to the kitchen was if I carried them. But instead of feeling irritated, I started thinking, “What if there was only ONE coffee cup to carry? Mine.” It was a major epiphany and a total turnaround in my perspective over a dumb coffee cup (and a few of the other irritating things he does).

Indeed, how blessed I am to have TWO cups to carry to the kitchen — and not just one. None of us know how long we will be here and that life can change in a heartbeat.

So what if men don’t listen and so what if women (well, not all women) can’t read road maps?

Vive la différence.

May I never complain again about that coffee cup!

 

~Bobbie Jensen Lippman

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