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If Your Coffee Mug Has No Handle, Is It a Cup?

 In Communication, Culture, Leadership
By Tyler Head

Thanks is an expression of gratitude.

To give is to freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone).

I am writing this from a coffee shop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where I grew up. I am sitting at a bar-height table that stretches laterally across the front face of a coffee shop. The windows span vertically from the floor to the ceiling. The mid-morning sun is dancing across my coffee mug. The mug is an amber glass with no handle and is warm to the touch. So, I guess it’s really a cup.

Years ago, I longed to get out of Murfreesboro—to find a better place, a more excellent area, some mystical land I’d built up in my wild imagination that must only exist elsewhere.

Shortly after high school, I moved to Hawaii to start college. I found many adventures on the island—most of which were not in the classroom. I quickly learned that college in Hawaii and wide-open freedom at eighteen were both a gift and a burden. I made the tough decision to pack it up and come back home; I knew I wanted to finish college. However, Hawaii wasn’t the place for me to do it. I returned to Murfreesboro.

At MTSU—a college in Murfreesboro—I pressed into my curiosity. This curiosity had much to do with people, places, and how we interact as a society. Furthermore, I explored the impact of different people and cultures on and within society—now and over the years. You could say I learned a little about a lot. Mainly that human beings are truly extraordinary.

Toward the end of my college career, I chose to study abroad in Santiago, Chile, at Universidad de Andres Bello. Every class that semester was in Spanish. Total submersion in a Spanish-speaking country was lonely at first. However, it gave me very little room to sit back and watch. I pressed into what and who was around me. I chose to learn from those nearest me, ask curious questions and show up the best I knew how.

After six months in Chile, I returned to Murfreesboro.

A year after college, I took a job in Springfield, Missouri—a city I nor my wife knew anything about. Nevertheless, we made a move, and Springfield is now our home. We love Springfield.

Sporadically, we returned to Murfreesboro for holidays or significant life events with family and dear friends. Family and friends, that line is blurry—we like it that way.

Today, as I sip my coffee and reflect on the many places I’ve called home, I consider the breakdown of “Thanks” and “Give,” which prompts two thoughts.

  1. That the distant, mystical, more excellent place that only exists elsewhere is real. However, it’s not a location that is most excellent. It’s the people.
  2. Murfreesboro is a beautiful place to come back to, but like all the other places—it’s the people that make it that way.
Along the way, it has been the people I’ve found or the relationships that have found me that make an area so excellent.

I am deeply grateful for all the leaving and returning in my life thus far, the places I’ve been, and the experiences shared. However, truer this year than last, I am grateful for the people with whom I’ve crossed paths.

May you give freely what you have to give this season. May you be reminded that places are good, but it’s people that make them excellent. May your week be full of those beautiful people that make the place.

Happy Thanksgiving from DRYVE Leadership Group!
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