TEA BAGS AND FAITH LESSONS – A Short Story

Back in 2012, I joined Pam Ford Davis’ group Tea Pot Testimony on Facebook.  In one of her posts, Pam asked what one does with a cup of tea that is full of bits of tea due to a broken tea bag.  As I thought about my answer, the idea for this story was born.  The memory of that first cup of tea is my own, shared with my mom and my Gramma Olcott when I was small.

Gramma went home to be with the Lord many years ago, and this past Saturday marked two years since my mom’s death.   I miss them both so much, and while trying to decide what to post for today’s fiction, I chose to re-post this story in their memory.

MOM & GRAMMA O OCT, 1988 b - Copy2

*   *   *   *   *

I stared out the window as the tea kettle began to steam, lost in thoughts of past tea times.  It was on afternoons such as this that made the emptiness of my heart pulse with an ache born of loss and grief.

Many had been the days when the three of us would settle at the scarred farmhouse table with a steaming pot of tea and whatever baked goods Gramma had whipped up for our time together.  Three generations of Olcott women, sharing hopes and dreams over spicy ginger snaps, dark molasses cookies or scones.

Many were the lessons learned as I sat with my mother and grandmother.  Learning the proper way to brew a pot of tea, learning the lessons of being a Godly wife and mother.

I remembered the day I had first been invited to join the gathering, growing the number to the three of us.  I had been just a child, secretly thrilled with the tiny cup and saucer that had been set in front of me.  I had watched in awe as the cup was filled half full of steaming tea, then watched as a spoon of sugar and a liberal amount of milk had been added.

I smiled slightly as I relived the moment of that first sip, the unimaginable pleasure of being allowed to share in such an adult ritual.  All these years later, no other cup of tea ever equaled the taste perfection of that first cup.

The tiny hiss of sound steadily grew until it reached an ear-piercing whistle.  I reached out and turned the knob to shut off the burner.   As I lifted the kettle to pour the water into the pot, tears stung the backs of my eyes, even as I smiled mistily.

When I had filled the pot and set the kettle back on the stove, I lifted the tiny ceramic lid and settled it back on the pot, closing in the scent and heat.  Lifting the tray, I carried it across the large kitchen and set it on the same old table that had taken up the center of the room for generations.

Even as I settled into my customary chair across from my mother, the emptiness of Gramma’s chair pulled the tears from my eyes to run down my cheeks.  Swiping my hand across my face, I swallowed and lifted the pot to fill the three cups that rested in their matching saucers.

An indrawn gasp filled the kitchen as I looked at the tiny bits of tea which swirled in the cups.

“Oh, no!”

I lifted the bags out of the pot, shaking my head at the large hole in one of them.  I closed my eyes in exasperation, then looked across at my mother.

“Don’t worry about it,”  she told me.  “Just get the strainer.”

I did as I was bid, and poured the tea from the cups back into the pot before using the strainer to catch the tiny bits of tea leaves as I refilled the cups.  As I did so, I was reminded of one of the most prominent lessons that I had learned during our afternoon tea times.

I glanced at the newcomer to the gatherings and studied the young face.  Love swelled in me as I met my daughter’s eyes.

“Did I ever tell you about the time great-gramma had this happen?”  I asked.  When my teenage daughter shook her head in the negative, I recounted the story.

On that afternoon so long ago, the tea bag had also been ripped.  When my grandmother had gone through the same process, she held up the tea strainer and pointed to the tea leaves that lay therein.

“Do you see these tea leaves?”  When I  had nodded, Gramma had continued.  “These tea leaves are like our lives before we accept Jesus as Savior.  They are the sin that fills us and contaminates our souls.  But when we are saved, that sin gets strained from our lives, leaving us with a clean soul and heart, just like the tea in your cup.”

My daughter smiled as she studied the tea in her cup, then grinned.  “Who would have thought that you could learn something about faith just sitting and having tea?”

 

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012, 2017

Advertisements

Seeing Is Not Believing Pt. 3

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

Gail sat silently, listening as Principal Michaels talked with her parents. She knew that Natalie had been in earlier with her parents; but did not know, nor care, what the outcome of that meeting had been.

Her nose hurt, her whole face ached, and she just wanted to go home and lay down.

The adults stood in unison and the principal reached out to shake her dad’s hand, reassuring him that steps would be taken to ensure nothing like this would ever happen again.

Principal Michaels then turned to look at Gail and asked, “So this was all about Brian Howell?”

Gail shook her head.

“I don’t know, Mr. Michaels. Brian and I have never spoken two words to each other in all the years we have been class mates.”

“Well, I guess it won’t hurt to tell you now, it will be all over school by tomorrow anyway.” He studied Gail for a second and then added, “Brian Howell’s dad was in earlier to tell me he has transferred to some academy upstate.”

Gail swallowed hard and stood up.

“When is he leaving?”

“Today was his last day.”

Gail turned blindly and went out, leaving the adults to stare after her.

A short while later, Gail lay on her bed in her tiny upstairs bedroom, staring at the ceiling.

The doorbell rang and she waited, listening as her mother’s voice carried up the stairs.

“Gail, honey, it’s Becky.”

She rolled off the bed and waited for her friend to appear at the top of the stairs.

“Thanks, Mrs. Roberts.” Becky turned to look at Gail. “Hey, girl.” Her normally exuberant voice was subdued. “How’re you feeling?”

“It hurts, Beck.”

“Is it broken?”

“Yes.”

“Man, I’m sorry Gail. If I didn’t say anything to them, she probably wouldn’t have done it.”

“Beck, you were just sticking up for me. Please don’t apologize for being my friend.”

“Well, I’m still sorry.” Becky wandered the room before sprawling her long, lanky body into the chair beside the window. “But the reason I came over is that it is all over school that Brian transferred to some academy somewhere upstate.”

“I know. Principal Michaels told me this afternoon.”

She didn’t mention her dashed hopes, thankful that no one knew just how much of a crush she had on the now-absent-Brian.

“And … word is that Natalie has been suspended for two weeks.”

“Well, great! Another reason for her to hate me and want revenge.”

Next Friday – Part 4
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2014