I couldn't run a series on the blog without contributing a post myself... Here is my piece for our 2013 Thankfulness Series. Hope you and yours get to cozy up with a hot cup of tea served with milk.
It is still dark outside when I get to work. I set chairs around tables and wash tea cups in hot soapy water. I turn on the light, set the radio to a jazz station, and greet young people as they come in for hot drinks. No, I do not work at a coffee shop. I am a high school teacher. This year I am running an early block resource room, where students join me for tea, studying, and college advice. This program has reaffirmed my appreciation for a good cup of hot tea.
The tea I share with my students warms them, literally on these cold November days. But, I like to think it warms them figuratively too. Preparing food or drink for others, no matter how simple is an act of service. And all acts of service are really acts of love. My students choose from an assortment of mugs and tea bags. I heat the water and offer my tea with milk. I also like to offer my tea with poetry.
I especially enjoy my tea when I am tired on Thursday mornings, when early block comes just a few hours after my Wednesday late class. The spices awake my senses and the warmth soothes me into my work day. I also drink tea when I am sick. Then, the warmth and strength opens my sinuses and I breathe easier. I share tea with friends when the come over to visit. I believe the tea helps set the stage for an afternoon of good conversation and laughter. My daughter and I like to drink imaginary tea, which is really fun because as we cool down our tea with exaggerated breaths, she tells me whether today’s tea party is in the jungle, on the beach, at the library or in some other place she’s dreamt up.
There is a blissful slowness to hot tea. It takes time to boil water. It takes time for the tea to steep. It takes time to drink a hot beverage. The fact that you cannot rush hot tea is a welcome blessing in our too hurried world. This blessing is personal to me. Twelve years ago, this fall Chris and I started dating. Some of our earliest dates were spent sharing a giant cup of spiced chai walking arm-in-arm downtown on cold nights when the Christmas lights lit our path and we tied scarves tightly around our necks. Over frothy sips of warm milk-based tea the world unfolded before us in a way that perhaps only happens for young people in love. For everything that came after, I'm grateful for those early tea drinking dates. And now, and forever, all it takes is the smell spiced chai on a cold day to bring me back to that warm place.
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This post is part of our 2013 Thankfulness Series. If you are interested in contributing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.