Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 8: A Tea Meditation Moment

The beginning of the day. The first cup of tea.

This morning I'm steeping Best International Tea. It's the quintessential black blend, good for mornings, afternoons, or in my case - all day longs. There are teas that are conducive to a quick steep. 30 seconds, 40 seconds. Gaiwan is all about the shorter steeps (though I won't even pretend to know anything about Gaiwan, so we'll move along). But most of the teas we're all familiar with require some measure of time. There's the time to boil the water. There's the steeping time. If you're like me, and you like your morning cup o' tea to be able to stand up and kick you in the teeth, you've got to give it time. You've got to have patience.

Patience is in short supply, in my experience. Both globally and locally. And by locally, I mean personally. I've known other mothers whose friends comment, "Becoming a mother suits her. It has mellowed her." Motherhood has had the exact opposite effect on me. I'm more frantic, I have a shorter fuse. Patience, I have not - but I want it. I understand the need for it. I understand the value of it.

I remember as a child, not understanding why God didn't seem to answer all my prayers. It would seem so simple to me. "Just give me the puppy," I'd pray. "What is the big deal?" And then some grown-up, I don't remember if it was my Mom or Grandma or a Sunday school teacher, told me that God does indeed answer every prayer, but sometimes the answer is no. I was not amused. But even later, I came to understand that, often, the answer to the prayer is, "Wait." In other words, have patience.

We see it in our children, and so why can't we see it in ourselves - sometimes they think they know what is best for them, but if we let them have what they want it would have dire consequences. Or at least really annoying ones. And even more often, we see that if we gave into the child's want, they would not be able to enjoy something even better just a little further down the road. And so we teach patience. "Wait."

I have had many experiences where I can look back and think, "I'm so glad this didn't happen when I was begging for it at 19, 22, 25, 27..." Or having a fuller sense of gratitude when my prayer was finally answered in a way more beautifully and more perfectly than I could have imagined. It's a lesson I've learned over and over, and yet, it's like algebra with me. It will stay in my head for about a week - just long enough to pass the current quiz at hand - and then... gone.

Today, I intend to accept the answer of, "Wait," with grace, remembering that there may be something better or more important in store just around the corner.