Every one of them has its story. A personalized, purple-y mug crafted by a co-worker. A solid blue with the logo of some engineering firm, passed on by a friend who knew I’d like it because it was “just the right shape.” Today I sip one brought years ago from a friend in Germany, a mug marked with the words Onhe Kaffee ist alles doof — without coffee, everything is dumb.
Company in my apartment receive an invitation to drink a warm mug. If I told the stories of each one, it would take more than one visit, so I mostly keep them to myself. My guests sit and sip, while I drink in recollections of old friends and other places. Connection between the past and present takes place as new memories are made over old mugs.
Earlier in the year, a few friends who know me well gave me a gift to take with me to the Middle East: a teapot and two mugs. They said they felt the connections I had shared with them and others over hot drinks. They wanted to send me with part of themselves, and also bless the connections and conversations yet to come.
As I pack this week, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind is nowhere near as difficult as wondering what parts of my life I can take with me, and what I will need to let go. But the unseen loved ones, as well as the untold stories, carry influence. Like the mugs that hold memories from old days, are savored in the present, and anticipate new use– I carry influence from each story, each place, and each connection, with me both now and into my new life.
Everyone who has every shared a warm mug of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate with me: You have influenced me. You have been woven into the fabric of a story yet unfinished. I will be taking you on this journey, remembering as I drink hot cups of Middle Eastern coffees and teas with new acquaintances. You are deeply appreciated. Your part has not finished yet. A second story is happening.