Feb 15, 2021
My husband is 50% German. His mother and grandmother escaped from East Germany in 1951 and eventually joined other family members who had already settled in Salt Lake City, UT.
Paul, my husband, grew up with many German influences; the food, holiday traditions, the language, lederhosen…. and coffee.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have a principle called The Word of Wisdom. Within this principle we are counseled to not drink hot drinks, meaning coffee and tea.
Paul’s grandmother joined the LDS Church as a teenager in Germany, and his mother and father raised their family as active members of the Church.
Almost every Sunday of his childhood, Paul and his family went to visit his grandmother, Omi, in her tiny house in the northwest part of the Salt Lake valley. Some part of the visit always included treats and coffee.
Knowing what he was taught at church about drinking coffee, he felt a little confused, but concluded in his young mind that Germans must be allowed to still drink coffee; like an unwritten clause was in there somewhere.
He carried this memory with him into adulthood, very much honoring Omi and all that she was; loving, determined, hard-working, and faithful just to name a few. She served as a temple worker for years. In order to be a temple worker, she would need to be obedient to the doctrines and principles of the Church.
Like keeping the Word of Wisdom.
So, why the coffee?
He didn’t stew over it all these years, but talked about it enough that I was very familiar with the tradition and how he would chuckle and shake his head when sharing this story of his childhood.
A couple of weeks ago we were in Salt Lake visiting Paul’s parents. At dinner we were remembering Omi, who’s been gone for 20 years now, and Paul mentioned how their visits usually ended with everyone enjoying a cup of coffee.
My mother-in-law undid her son’s decades long belief in three words: “It was Postum.”
As in “your caffeine-free coffee alternative.”
He sat back with astonishment. Postum!? This news created a complete shift in his belief. It answered all his questions. As a child, Paul had simply interpreted that drink they had at Omi’s as coffee, and then carried that belief with him into adulthood.
We all have beliefs we’ve carried with us since childhood, but we seldom stop to consider if they still serve us – or if they ever did.
Since I was a young adult, I’ve believed my mom must have been annoyed at my headstrong personality as a child. And I’m sure she was at times. But I decided, and believed, that it was something that kept us from having a really close relationship. That if only I had been quiet and demure, she would have spent more time with me.
She had 5 children, served in Church and community positions, and started working outside the home when I was about 12. Maybe that had something to do with how much time she spent with me.
At the end of her life, my brother interviewed mom about each of her kids. About me, she expressed amazement at my confidence and that I was never afraid of anything. She said, “I have more confidence in her than I do in myself.” She said nothing of me being stubborn, difficult, or any of the other things I’ve been telling myself for YEARS.
How you think about your past will affect the results you are getting in the present. Carrying old painful beliefs through life is like re-opening old wounds over and over again. Those painful moments aren’t still happening, but our memories and beliefs about them make the old pain new again. And again and again.
The people and events of the past don’t have any power over you, until you give it to them. This doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge the painful, or maybe just confusing, things that happened. It means you can look at them with a lens of new understanding.
And you can let go of the old beliefs you’ve been holding onto if they aren’t serving you in a purposeful way.
P.S. You may not even be aware of what beliefs from the past you are still carrying with you. The results you currently have in your life will often be an indication of those past beliefs, and why you feel “stuck” in some areas of your life. Try a FREE Discovery Call with me so that you can start living in the present. https://meredithgcoaching.as.me/