I was tired, so I made tea.
Though I often crave caffeine, I can only tolerate it until noon, when I must stop drinking it or risk lying awake until two in the morning. Fortunately, I glanced at the clock on the stove: just after 10:00 a.m. I had time.
I spooned some caffeinated black tea into a paper loose tea filter, lowered it into the deep pottery mug, poured steaming water from the electric tea kettle over it and let it steep while I answered a few e-mails. A few minutes later, I returned to the kitchen and drizzled some honey into the mug and stirred. Breathing in the aroma, I knew this would keep me going for a few hours.
Both physical and virtual paperwork awaited, as well as phone calls and e-mails. Later in the day, an errand or two. The to-do’s of the day were flowing like the steady stream of a kitchen faucet—not as forceful as a fire hydrant nor as annoying as a drip, but I had to pay attention or the sink would fill and overflow, figuratively speaking.
So I kept at it, task after task, decision after decision, e-mail after e-mail, errand after errand. These things weren’t overwhelming; just steady. Somewhere in the afternoon, though, I needed a pause.
My cup, as it were, was empty.
I’d drained my literal cup of tea, and I had drained my figurative cup, my very self, of rest.
Life needs pauses.
I’d scheduled tire rotation and a medical test for my daughter, shopped for groceries and filled the gas tank; I printed off papers for my daughters’ schoolwork and agreed to bake brownies for a church function.
But…a pause. I needed a pause.
Late in the afternoon I returned to the kitchen and opened the cabinet to stare at my boxes of tea. I saw some chai tea. Decaf. By then it was past 3:00 p.m., so I could only handle decaf.
Filled the tea kettle.
Instead of racing around the corner to my desk, I leaned against the counter while the water boiled.
How easy it would be to check my phone for e-mail while the water boiled.
But, no. I paused.
And when the electric kettle bell dinged, I lifted the plastic kettle from its base and poured hot water over the tea bag, watching the bag rise with the waterline, all the way to the top, before it was soggy enough to sink. I took hold of the tag and dipped it down and up several times then let it settle at the bottom.
I briefly considered carrying my drink to the desk, but changed my mind. Instead, I walked to the table and sat for a moment, both hands hugging the mug to warm my palms.
Tea, I decided, is necessary.
Tea, I realized, is a slow-down solution.
Tendrils of steam drifted up from the glimmering dark surface of the tea and dissipated.
I lifted the mug and blew across the top, making ripples.
Then I tilted the mug and the tea touched my lips.
Slowly, I sipped.
Is every hour rush hour at your house?
Explore the jarring effects of our overcommitted culture and find refreshing alternatives for a more meaningful family and spiritual life.
Find a pace that frees your family to flourish.
“Not So Fast is a gift to every reader who takes the time to slow down and breathe in its pages.”
—Lee Strobel, best-selling author of The Case for Christ
For the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. We’re pretty relaxed over here, and stories and photos are as welcome as menus and recipes.
Hazel I. Moon says
Coffee is good and tea is better. I could invision your tea and the steam caused me to desire a nice cup myself. Thanks for Hosting this delightful Friday site.
Judee @gluten free A-Z says
I love to relax with chamomile tea.
Thanks for this great blog carnival.
I just want to let you know that the link #3 for Holiday Appetizer GF has the wrong link . Sorry, so I posted it again. You might want to delete #3 if that is possible.
Megan Willome says
You know how much I love tea, right? But usually I use it while I’m writing, to keep going. I tend to work right up until time to pick up the kids. But this post makes me think I need to stop work a little earlier, make fresh tea, and just linger.
Stephanie S. Smith says
This is such a lovely, seamless metaphor. The slow things keep me from becoming completely ADD and distracted, which I’m so prone to do working online at home all day.
And I have to say every time I see a picture of your mug–I would love to have one! 🙂 Love pottery and THC symbol. Guess I’ll have to make it to one of the retreats!
I’m with you! Tea is necessary to my well-being much of the time, especially in my office which is almost always too cold regardless of the outdoor temperature. In fact, a man is on a ladder in the hallway right now trying to fix our heat.
One of my favorite things about getting to experience a new century is these times when the month, day, year, hour, and minute are all the same number! 🙂 I actually wrote my post earlier in the week and scheduled it to be published at 11:11 today, just because.
What a lovely mug. What a lovely pause.
I always love a cup of mint tea. I’m joining Food on Fridays for the first time and I can’t find the button…
Thanks for hosting Ann! I love coffee (hazelnut) and my favorite tea is cinnamon! I added the Salmon Baked In White Wine this week!
Sheila Seiler Lagrand says
I’m an unrepentant coffee drinker, but this post leads me to want to pull down the french press and make coffee the slow way, instead of relying on the auto-coffee-maker thingy that encourages me to hurry along.
Thank you, Ann.
Trish Southard says
The ripples across the tea…very vivid… you’ve made me stop and visualize the whole moment….ahhh I’m off to start my kettle.
Thank you Ann!
Oh, my. Now you have me wanting a cupa. And it’s nearing 4pm. I am in that caffeine boat thing with you. Wonder if I have any decaf…