This week we were fortunate to get to attend the 18th Annual Cleburne Prayer Breakfast to hear keynote speaker Damon West share his story about what it means to be a Coffee Bean. Coffee Bean, you ask? Yes, hang in there and keep reading (it is worth it).
Damon grew up playing football in South Texas where he was a three-year starter for his high school. His success in high school lead to him becoming the Quarter Back for the University of North Texas a Division One School. In his first season, Damon suffered a career ending injury.
After losing his identity of being an athlete, Damon got involved in drugs to suppress the pain of his loss. Unfortunately, that lead to trying methamphetamines. One year after trying meth for the first time he was broke, jobless, and homeless. Once the money ran out and desperation set in, he resorted to robbing homes in Uptown Dallas. Time ran its course and eventually he was arrested for his transgressions.
Damon spent ten months in the Dallas County Jail leading up to his trial. Knowing his future meant prison, he began asking other inmates about what to expect in prison and how to survive. The general consensus was that he would have to join a gang in order to survive. However, not long before his time in county jail ended an older man who was a career criminal and had been to prison four to five times pulled him aside to give Damon some advice. The man said, “Prison is like a boiling pot of water and there are three types of people who go into prison. The first is like a carrot. He asked Damon, what is a carrot like before going into boiling water? Damon replied, it is hard. And what happens to a carrot when it goes into boiling water? It becomes soft and mushy Damon replied. Yes, and some types of people go into prison hard and become soft and mushy just like the carrot because prison breaks them and ruins them. The second type of person is like an egg. What is an egg like he asked Damon? He replied, it has a hard exterior and soft inside. That is right the man replied. What happens to the egg when it is put into boiling water? It becomes hard on the inside as well replied Damon. Again, that is right responded the man. For some people prison hardens a man’s inside just like the egg and institutionalizes him making him incapable of love. The last type of person is a coffee bean. Damon, what happens to a coffee bean when you put it in boiling water? He replied unsure, I do not think I know the answer to this one. The man replied, you no longer call it water, you call it coffee, for what was inside the coffee bean spreads and changes its surroundings. This last type of person refuses to let prison change them, but rather they set the example for others by their attitude and actions. If you want to be a coffee bean, then you need to find other coffee beans. To find them get down to the chapel for that is where they hang out.”
Damon’s day in court came and he was sentenced to 65 years in prison. Considering the normal life span of a human being, this was a life sentence. Before leaving to being transported, his mother made him promise to not join a gang. She said, “You were not brought up to be racist, and you will not let prison turn you into that.” Damon kept his promise to his mother and stayed out of the gangs. He got down to the chapel and changed his life. Seven and half years later he was released on parole for good behavior. In his time in prison, Damon was the coffee bean, and he changed his surroundings rather than allowing them to change him. He is now a successful motivational speaker, author, and is in prison ministry.
5 Characteristics of a Coffee Bean
- Positive Body Language
- Work on Yourself (Mind, Body, & Soul)
- Servant Leadership
- Knowing What You Do and Do Not Control
- Your Past Does Not Define You
We were inspired by this story of being a coffee bean and wanted to share with you this unique story. Hope it hits home with you and you become the coffee bean in your life.
To find out more about Damon West, his story, or one of his books click here…