One of my favorite coffee shops back when I was in college was called “The Daily Grind.” Located right in the social center of campus, this coffee shop quickly became for me a near daily ritual where I’d grab a latte, the school newspaper, and a bag of yogurt-covered pretzels before heading out to change the world…by way of my history 101 course, that is.
Sometimes I even went crazy and ditched my usual pretzel order for…wait for it…a slice of zucchini bread. I know, right? Wild times.
I loved that java joint. It fueled me through so much of my collegiate experience, plus I thought the name was genius. Coffee grinds, daily grind…coffee made daily. I don’t think it ever occurred to my naïve and barely cultured 18-year-old mind that it could also be coy reference to the routine and cyclically repetitive nature of life.
Fast-forward to now…where my daily grind is well, not quite as glamorous. No one is handing me coffee and pastries as I head out to start my day. It’s more of a chaotic, frenzied version with me slinging black coffee mixed with collagen peptides into a to-go mug whilst transforming into a pack mule and loading my shoulders with all my kids’ backpacks, jackets, snacks, umbrellas, and whatever else the day demands.
Then, if I’m lucky…and let me assure you that I am…I’ll come home from schlepping more bags from a trip to the grocery store and find myself inexplicably drawn to the kids’ bathroom where an eau-de-toilette is coming from the “ew…the toilet.” I proceed to start cleaning the pungent remains of my precious son’s potty-training but wow-did-you-miss-the-mark-on-that-one session, only to discover several additional pools of water at the base of the toilet. There’s a leak somewhere and it’s beyond my pay grade.
The plumber is called. The budget is adjusted. The laundry begins. The kids are picked up. The dinner prep starts. The lunches are made. And the coffee pot is cleaned and prepped with fresh grounds so we can start all over again tomorrow.
Forget the espresso and the pour overs, guys. This is the real deal, daily grind. And sometimes it’s hard finding the good in the grind. Whether you’re a stay-at-home grinder, a commute-to-corporate grinder, a work-from-home grinder, or a for real barista grinder, life in all its repetitions and surprises can often be exhausting as we cycle through moments of grief and joy, sickness and health, success and failure, love and heartbreak.
Not even King David’s son Solomon—the richest and wisest man of his time who literally had everything he could want or imagine—could escape the grind. He writes in his book of Ecclesiastes, “Everything is futile! What does a man gain from all of his labor? The sun rises and the sun sets; it hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows southward, then turns northward; round and round it swirls…all things are wearisome, more than one can describe” (v.2-8).
That’s right, friends. Folks have been experiencing the grind since at least the 3rd century BC…and dare I say since Adam and Eve got the official boot from the Garden. But here’s the good news. What Solomon also recognized was that there’s a season for everything, and even in the tough grind seasons you can still experience something good. Moments of beauty, blessing, and joy.
“He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time,” (v.11) Solomon writes, “and there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live…all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work” (v.13).
For me personally, I’m grateful for the schlepping of groceries—because it means a full pantry and full bellies for my family. I’m thankful for my son’s “happy accident,” because if not for the noxious smell, I wouldn’t have found the bigger problem of the water leak and potentially hundreds more dollars worth of damages and repairs.
So I celebrated in the spirit of Solomon. Yep. I stroked a check to the plumber, then treated myself to a latte…and wait for it…a slice of pumpkin bread. There’s good in the grind, friends, and I’m right there with you. We got this.