02 December 2012

My thoughts… on tea, cream, and saying good-bye.

I’m sipping a cup of tea – “real” tea - freshly brewed without a bag.  I discovered a while ago that my “extra” French press was excellent for making a nice pot of tea.  So today I came home from church and wanted a cup of tea, for a couple of reasons. 

First, I drank buckets of coffee this morning.  Our church brews Starbucks on Sunday morning – a delightful thing.  For which I am most thankful.  I sit, cradling my mug – much more able to focus and enjoy the service knowing I’m continually able to enjoy another freshly brewed sip.  But {more importantly} I am saying good-bye to a sweet friend today.  A kindred tea drinker.  Our friendship mostly enjoyed over creamed tea.  I am thankful for this friendship. 

But this brings me to a rabbit trail.  Cream.  I love creamed tea.  But, at the moment my tea is floating with bits of flotsam and jetsam.  Ewww.  It doesn’t change the taste of the tea – as long as I don’t look at it!  I brewed a cup of cherry black tea – and then added cream.  Forgetting that cherry, even in flavor, is apparently a FRUIT.  Breaking a cardinal law of tea drinking.  Don’t ever add cream to fruit teas.  I promise – you don’t want to try!

Ok.  Back to my friend.  My friend R and her lovely family were some of the first to welcome us to Wilmore.  She reached out to me and I found myself discovering a kindred spirit with whom I never actually spent enough time.  We both have children, school, work, housework, and ministry time – WOW.  It seemed as though every couple months I would get to sit with her for a bit – just enough to realize what I was missing out on.  Do you have friendships like this?  Bittersweet.  Both of us have young daughters.  Our youngest girls were not quite the same age and just couldn’t seem to figure out their friendship so perhaps this made things a bit more difficult as well.  Regardless, I so enjoyed our moments together – brief and fleeting.  Again, I found myself assuming there would be more.  But, I forgot an important lesson. 

This lesson is seen in the lives of Abraham and David, even Ruth and Jesus.  I’m sure each of them had family that loved them – and assumed there would be more time together.  Each of them had a community that assumed their time together would naturally happen again.  But, each of these men had answered to God about a calling on their life.   We see God’s words to Abraham echoed again and again throughout the old and new testament.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12:1)

My life for the past 15 years has been much of this “leaving”.  I’m used to being the one who leaves.  Isn’t that a strange thing to say?  It’s nothing great about me – I just want to be obedient.  I want to run and say “YES – CHOOSE ME!  You need a home for that baby? YES!  You need someone to help here?  YES!”  In fact, I want to say yes so much that sometimes I say yes too much!  I am learning that I need to make sure that request was coming from the heart of God FIRST and before I say yes!  Sometimes we are called to be the one staying and waiting – and working in the mean time!

But, what happens when you are on the other side?  What happens when someone else says “Yes” and they have to leave, to leave you?  To walk ahead and move on in their adventure with God?  For me, this is H-A-R-D.  I’m not jealous – I am excited for them!  I can’t wait to hear about the new adventures, life, loves, and ministry opportunities they have!  What’s hard is this:  I had my time with her and let it slip by. 

Do you ever do that?  Do you ever find yourself at a crossroads in life and realize that life moved on – with or without out you?  Even with good intentions – and even REAL reasons for being busy, my heart is heavy.  There was much R taught me about life, God, and ministry – in her quiet sweet way!  I wanted to learn more – so sit and drink tea more.  But I can’t change that – but I can learn from it!
  • I can learn to not live life expecting another chance.
  • I can learn to listen to the spirit of God on what is GOOD to say yes to – and not just be busy.
  •  I can learn to continue to be ready.  There are days that God asks you to go – and we must always be ready to say, Yes God! Send me!  BUT for now – rejoice with others when they say yes!
So, today, as I sip my tea, I am so thankful for social media and the friends it allows me to keep in touch with.  I will hear about her new life, her new adventure.  But I am also thankful that God is teaching me something new every day – to remember not rush this Holiday season!   There are people who need you, there are people who God needs to show His love through. Please allow yourself to be used!  Stop, listen, and say YES to the right things!  We can all be busy.  Life is busy.  But let’s make sure it’s the right busy!