A Cup of Gladness

The last few afternoons, I’ve taken to having a nice cup of tea. Part of it is because, Downton Abbey Season 5 ended a few weeks ago and I’m missing my little flirtation with English life (don’t forget me Mr. Carson!) and part of it is because, well, I like tea. I put the kids down for a nap and set a pot to brewing. When the water is hot, I pour it over a tea bag in a pretty little cup and wait for it to steep. When it’s finally ready, I sit down at my kitchen table for just a few short minutes and feel like the Queen of England.

For those few moments, I feel like I’m enjoying a small luxury. I look at my fingers daintily holding my cup and I just feel fancy and pampered and ladylike. I know it’s silly to derive such pleasure from this small thing but it’s about more than the tea.

When I sit in my kitchen for those few minutes, I try to make myself think about the day I’ve had. Chances are, I have fought my fair share of battles with the kids, put the same pile of toys away five times, changed a few stinky diapers, and done some chores that I don’t enjoy but when I’m sitting there with my cup of tea, I try to train my eyes on the goodness of it all. I try do as the Lord instructed and rejoice in the day He has made.

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24 (NKJV)

Perhaps I’m able to do this because of my tea set.

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This tea set was passed down to me from my mom. I think it’s simply beautiful. I love the little flowers painted on it and the way the gold twirls in circles and loops with the lines of the cup like a couple dancing around a ball room. I love how dainty and delicate it is, how fragile and fine. But I’m sure you noticed its flaws as well.

This particular tea set, beautiful as it is, is far from perfect. I have six plates but only four cups, one of which is held together by glue. The teapot is missing its handle and the sugar dish is lost to the ages of the people that owned this before me. This set was given to me this way.

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It was carefully wrapped with pretty paper and beautiful bows and left under the tree for me on Christmas morning by my mom. She knew the condition it was in but she saw the beauty and the priceless value of it anyway. To her, the hands that had held it before me made up for the fact that mine would never have a handle to hold on the teapot. To her, the beauty of the flowers on that chipped cup more than compensated for the fractures that were held tight by glue. She knew that it wasn’t perfect but she saw that it was still fine and functioning and wanted me to have the opportunity to add my stories to the ones that already poured from it like good, strong tea.

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It was a gift and lovely one at that.

And as I sit with my tea set in front of me, enjoying my little luxury, I’m reminded that each day is like this tea set. Each morning we wake up and are given the gift of morning, noon, and night. Our Creator has been waiting for us to open it from the day that he planned it long ago. He knows that it won’t be perfect, there will be chips and dings and things will get lost and broken. He knows that we might not feel like we are a complete set by the end of it and that some moments will cause steam to ring out of our minds and whistle that we are just done. But He also knows that he has painted it with flowers and lined it with gold. He knows that this day, like this tea set is delicate and breakable and that has the potential to be hazardous. But that also has the potential to make it beautiful.

This is the day that the Lord has made. This is the gift He has given you. It might be lacking in a few areas but we can find the flowers there too. Even the cracks can be lined with gold if we’re looking hard enough. After all, if that handle wasn’t gone, I’d never have such a great view of the flowers underneath.

After all, the messes I picked up were made by the children that I love and the bathrooms that I cleaned were inside the home that I own. The instructions that I repeated over and over again are falling into little hearts that will grow and blossom and my words are watering them every time they’re spoken. The ends of my hair are coated in snot but it got there from the snuggles of my sweet little ones.

So, I drink my tea and savor the moment. I rejoice in the imperfect beauty of it mirrored in my tea set without a sugar dish. I breath in the fragrance of joy and strong, black tea and remind myself that I take it without sugar anyway.