Tea…sigh, I love tea. A cup of tea is a wondrous gift from God that is an elixir for my soul that soothes and is symbolic to me of refreshment, relaxation, comfort, wisdom, reflection and intimate relationships.
“There is no trouble so great or grave
that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.”
I begin each day in my corner in our bedroom equipped with a comfy chair, small table and a lamp with my first cup of tea, my Bible , a journal and pen in hand. As I reflect and meditate on His word, pray and sip the hot amber liquid my spirit is infused with His wisdom, joy, peace and strength. The mornings where I must rush out without this time, I sorely miss it and those days often feel out of kilter.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Living in Arizona, we drink ice tea by the gallons throughout our days. It quenches and refreshes but never has the soothing qualities of a cup of hot tea. I thirstily chug glass after glass of ice tea as I work around the house and yard while a cup of hot tea invites me to stop, slow down, savor the moment and ponder.
“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
― William Ewart Gladstone
A cup or two of hot tea each evening as we wind down has been part of my nightly routine with my husband Joel for over 30 years. This time give us time to converse without distraction -which was invaluable when we had kids in the home. We still find our tea time a valuable time to connect as a couple. This is also when we usually also have our time reading scriptures and praying together. In many ways God has used this routine of tea, His Word and prayer to keep our marriage strong throughout all the many changes and challenges of life.
Many of my most memorable times with one or a few close friends have been centered around tea. I can think of no better way for women to sit and take the time to share their lives with one another. Time to be what the Bible calls “iron sharpening iron”
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” New Living Translation
I have been encouraged, mentored and admonished over tea. I have both shared and bore burdens with others over tea. We have cried and prayed and we have also rejoiced and laughed so hard that we cried around tea. My heart is satisfied with the intimate companionship and beauty which is an integral part of tea with a friend.
Jessie Wilcox Smith–one of my favorite children’s artists!
Another way tea has impacted my life, is I married a man who grew up on the mission field in Morocco and later Spain. Tea is an integral part of the Moroccan culture served at the end of meals and their drink of hospitality. Tea is where friendships are forged, alliances made and hands promised in marriage. They serve a very sweet (up to 1/2 cup of sugar in 4 cups of tea) mint and gunpowder tea mixture out of hand tooled silver teapot into beautiful tea glasses. Unlike the cooking of meals, tea is traditionally a man’s affair: prepared by the head of the family. It is served to guests, and it is considered impolite to refuse it.To have less than three cups of tea when a guest in their home is considered bad manners and an insult to your host.
My first time of having this tea with a Moroccan family was about 25 years ago near Kansas City in the late afternoon. I knew to have less than 3 cups was rude so I drank my 3 glasses and nibbled on shortbread cookies with gusto and immensely enjoyed our visit with this generous, hospitable family of Moroccan believers. Shortly after leaving their place I began feeling shaky, nauseated and dizzy as the sugar high left and my blood sugar bottomed out. Since then I have thankfully only had Moroccan tea after a meal.
We have incorporated this tea in our family for fun times and especially when having guests over for a Moroccan meal. Because the tea in Morocco was traditionally boiled two times it is poured from great height to aerate it as it is poured like in the photo above. This skill I will readily admit my husband has down much better than I do! Children are drawn to the unique beauty and ceremony of this and the sweetness keeps them clamoring for more.
I think, for me, the greatest appeal of tea is that is causes me to slow down. to take the time to “Be still and Know that I am God” To stop and ponder His grace, His mercies, to count my many blessings and grow in gratitude.