Monday, February 18, 2013

Tea Time at the Abyss

"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Being a tea drinker I can certainly appreciate this quote. Being a wife and mother I can appreciate it even more. I have stood at the abyss of despair. I'm sure you can recognize the look if you take a moment. A face with eyebrows knit together indicating one more step will push that person over the edge. I have one friend who I can tell what kind of day she's having based on where she rubs her face. If she rubs her chin she's doing okay, but if she rubs her forehead she's standing with an emotional toe hanging over the cliff. It's always bad when I ask her how she's doing and she goes straight for the forehead and it's only 8 a.m. 

We do not want to take tea at the very edge of the cliff, but, as Elder Sophrony says, "draw back a little." But how does one accomplish this when you go to bed later than planned and the baby wakes up an hour later demanding attention and you know it's only a few short hours before your own personal tornado (the 8 year old) sounds the alarm to announce his arrival to the morning.  How do you stay in the present when it's a school holiday and you know the personalities mingling together throughout the day is more likely to prove explosive than enjoyable? 

My mother reminds me often that tea has a way of keeping you in the moment. It's not like coffee which in our society is meant to keep you always moving forward. Tea encourages the partaker to sit down and rest a moment. It is a sort of "reset" button for the weary.  If we push ourselves beyond what we can bear for the sake of being strong, we will fall over, teacup and all, and find staring up from the darkness of the abyss is far more terrifying than standing at the brink.  Let us step back and take tea together as mothers.  Of course we may not be able to sit at each others tables and sip a perfectly steeped pot together, but we can pray for one another and be an encouragement.  We can make a pot of gratitude for all the Lord has blessed us with and sip it throughout the day through prayer and the reading of His Word.  We can choose to face the difficulties, in the strength of Christ our Lord, and lay down the idea that we must somehow bear it all.  How freeing is that thought alone?! 

May we find a moment, or, rather, many moments each day to step back and drink in Christ for He promises to quench our thirst and give us His peace.  Thank God!

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