Tea and Sympathy

Coffee

“Damn that coffee table,” Millie thought, this was the second time today she crashed straight into the corner and as her shin began to have yet another hysterical pulse she let the obscenities flow off her tongue. The thought crossed her mind each time a newly formed multi-colored bruise appeared to simply get rid of the old thing, but as she dreamed of an apartment floor without the nuisance of the hunky wooden rectangle something always kept her from caving in. Yes, it was only ten dollars at her friend’s yard-sale but where would she stack her collection of classic books she adored showing off to company, or her nightly cup of tea when she would reflect on her day before turning in? As these thoughts—and now emotions—seemed to accumulate almost out of nowhere in Millie’s restless mind she simultaneously peered down at that darn table to see abundant tea stained rings charged eternally into the cheap wood. She couldn’t help but smile as she remembered the lovely memories each cup of tea brought her during many lonely nights. For the time being she made up her mind to never get rid of her wooden-rectangle friend, “although I can’t make any promises for the next time it happens,” she admitted as she walked into the kitchen. Millie filled the copper kettle, set the fire underneath, and felt content to wait for the obnoxious whistle before retiring to the tacky floral sofa.

“Hmmmmm, what’ll it be tonight Millie darling?” The question never went unasked in apartment 32A and tonight the lucky winner was the vintage porcelain teacup and saucer: a tasteful floral print. Carefully and habitually she poured the boiling water, grabbed the last chamomile teabag and anxiously walked to the living room. Balancing the cup of water on the tiny saucer Millie felt somewhat accomplished for dodging the wooden beast all without spilling a single drop! Yet, almost in the same thought, while Millie planted herself on the sofa the saucer and companion were not as fortunate in their placement on the coffee table; Millie was convinced it was the doing of the coffee table but she couldn’t exactly prove it, but regardless, the saucer in stop-motion movements toppled over bring the teacup and the boiling water straight to the feet of Millie Brown.

The world went silent. With tears slowly dropping to the ground Millie bent down and started to gather what once was her favorite saucer and teacup duo. Now it was her two feet which had the agitated pulse and even though she wanted to find a way to blame the damn coffee table she couldn’t help but laugh at how clumsily she had become. And as the night rolled on by Millie quickly cleaned up the left over pieces and mopped up the water that didn’t find its way to either foot; she found herself back in the living room and gently placed herself at the edge of the sofa. She quietly started to cry, yet soon enough Millie felt intense warmth spread throughout her whole body and at that moment she wiped her last tear and stood up: “it’s nothing a cup of tea can’t solve” Millie told herself as she turned the corner towards the kitchen.

 

 

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the wind is easier to hold

A while back I wrote a blog on different seasons. At the time winter was very much present in myself and among the barren trees. What I know of this society: it indoctrinates an accelerated version of growth, healing, what have you, into the core of our belief system. It is almost as if it is okay to talk openly about being in a season of waiting but heaven forbid if we stay there too long. The season of depression may come to visit, just don’t invite it into your home or people may start staring. I write this blog to accurately paint how sometimes the darker seasons set-up camp for quite some time; it’s not some kind of scenic drive-thru of the mountains we decide to take because it might be fun. I guess it would be more encouraging to write a blog about stepping into a season of solitude and bleakness and coming out on the other side with sunshine and fine thoughts. That is just not realistic. It would almost be easier to catch the wind and hold onto it like a balloon on a string than to walk through the metaphorical season of winter in the time society wishes us to.


If you had noticed the path beneath your feet was shadowed-stained, illuminated solely off pure willfulness would you purposefully and continuously decide to keep such a path aglow?

I have found most days the wind is easier to hold.


Maybe the once vibrant flame of your spirit now quietly remains a flicker almost totally consumed by the shadow of this world and you are left to decide each day: feed the flame or the shadow?

I have found most days the wind is easier to hold.


Does it seem the space for a simple functioning mind sinks slowly into the cavity where all of life is looked through a hazy lens?

I have found most days the wind is easier to hold.


The thick, poison-filled air circulates cozily and always familiarly admits your daily thought process, never an intruder; do you dare lift the glass from your head to fill your lungs with unfamiliar yet clean air?

Definitely, I have found most days the wind is easier to hold.


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when we are in dust

remember that you are dust…


The Lenten season is upon us yet again; a true paradox, a season marked with grief, sadness, and ultimately death, but joy, celebration and life are found waiting, patiently by the empty tomb at the end of it all.

Here are some [fun] facts to have stored in your brain if you want to ever rattle these off to your spouse or the person in front of you at the post office.

Facts You Didn’t Know About The Lenten Season 

1. The great celebration of Mardi Gras (which I am sure everyone is familiar with) is actually French for ‘Fat Tuesday’, the preparation before Lent to consume all the “fatty” foods before fasting takes place.

2. The drawing of a cross in ashes is most popular in English speaking countries, elsewhere the ashes are usually sprinkled over the head. 

3. Common Lent fasts include no soda, no fast food, no chocolate, and no sex (ew, gross) but the number one thing people tend to give up for Lent is social media now and days. 

4. The ashes used during the Ash Wednesday service are the palm branches used on Palm Sunday, which are then burned on Shrove Tuesday the next year. 

5. Sometimes I find it difficult to know how to greet people on the start of this season; “Happy Ash Wednesday” never seems appropriate and yet I did text one or two people that this year, again….oops. 

Well there you are, now you can impress all your friends with these awesome [fun] facts. But I don’t want to stop there with the story of this season. It holds so much grace and beauty within it how can we not talk about it more often?!

During this years Ash Wednesday service my pastor talked about the season of Lent being a time to remember strict ancient disciplines, surrounded around the concept of Lent. The season is a total of 46 days. The six Sundays aren’t included (a hot topic for some Christians: “Honey, what are you doing eating Chocolate?! Lent isn’t over?” “Don’t worry darling, Sundays are my cheat days! The pastor said so.”) So for those Christians who are a little more liberal each Sunday within the season can be viewed as a ‘mini’ Easter. Side note: when I give something up for Lent I like to fully give it up. None of that ‘I can have Sundays off’ for me. If Jesus Christ freaking died on the cross for me personally I think I can have enough self-discipline for 46 days to not do ‘X’. However, the beauty in it all is that there is grace for those days we slip. You see, the idea behind giving something up for Lent isn’t about whether we can add something to our routine or take something away; it is about being more focused on Jesus. So to do that we take away the distracting things in our lives or add the things all in all to remind us of His sacrifice.

An odd thing this season of Lent is, when you think about it. We participate in a season surrounded around the idea of remembrance and self-reflection; a time in which we have the opportunity to follow in Jesus’ steps in the desert. It is almost like we want to do it all by ourselves, “this year I can give up TV and I will have so much more free time on my hands.” I think along the way Jesus is forgotten. And sometimes I think we use Lent as a time to get back on track with our New Year’s Resolution. It almost could be called Lent: the season of giving up all sugar. But don’t think I am pointing the finger. I do the same thing. I give something up and don’t think twice about how God is connected to it all. Maybe this Lenten season can be different.

This year I wanted to give up something but also add because that is how you get brownie points with God (but you can’t actually eat the brownies if you gave up sweets for Lent…)

Yet again I gave up smoothies for Lent. I work at good ol’ Smoothie King so I am constantly making, pouring and tasting smoothies. It is a good way to bring Jesus to the forefront because when I see a smoothie, say the Banana Boat with peanut butter added, I am instantly reminded I am not living by my own strength – I would have snapped so many times if I didn’t say “hey, Jesus, I really want to taste this delicious smoothie, but I love you more. Help me.” It sounds petty but not everyone can be a super Christian like the girls you see on Instagram. It took me a little longer to come to a decision for what I wanted to add. Do you want to know a secret? It is only the 4th day of Lent and I already messed up. Again, there is so much love and grace during this season, I just can’t handle it. I decided to read a chapter of Hebrews everyday until my 46 days were over; there are only thirteen chapters so that means I would be re-reading it and re-reading it and….

A prayer from Martin Luther:

Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.

I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.

I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you.

In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.

I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.

I am a sinner; you are upright.

With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.

Therefore I will will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.

Amen.


…and to dust we shall return   

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As We Begin To Understand: A Blog On The Seasons

I am in the season of life where I am beginning to understand. This should not be read as “I am beginning to understand” like when someone says “Oh! I am beginning to understand this math problem.” No. I mean I am beginning to understand; in the sense of someone finally starting to begin to clean out the inside of their car because it desperately needs it. I am in the season where I am desperately cleaning out my soul, mind, brain, person, heart etc. so that I can begin to understand.

Appropriately enough, Punxsutawney Phil determined that winter will be with us for a moment longer. (Happy belated Groundhog Day everyone!) Pause for a moment and picture a winter where there is no bouncing back and forth between summer temperatures dropping to the possibility of snow. Do not mind the winter we have here in South Carolina, though I am not complaining that yesterday felt like Spring. Each season is designed for a beautiful, yet different reason. This is something I am beginning to understand: love also comes in different forms through each season. Winter is a season of beauty, but in its own way. Winter: the season of solitude and meditation. It is when we remove the bright and beautiful but distracting colors of the world we are left with ourselves–naked as the trees who have shed their last colors of fall. And here is the question that is important with the truth of this season: how will we begin to understand? We are not limited as to what it is we can understand: ourselves, this world, the meaning of life, another person’s opinion. We just have to open ourselves up to the possibility of winter.

Fall is my favorite season for so many different reasons. You can wear shorts and socks and a long-sleeve shirt, it is finally acceptable to crave hot chocolate again and the leaves are so beautiful to watch change colors. Another thing I am beginning to understand: the reds, oranges, yellows cannot be forever; they too must die to themselves. So while everything on the outside slips into a bleakness of death we can take the time to grow our roots deep down; to learn what it is we are trying to understand. As great as all of that sounds “taking the time to grow our roots” it is not easy and it’s actually not all that great. When the leaves fall to the ground and we are left with our branches bare we will finally ask the question, “who am I?” We are naked, lost, hurt an left in the dark.

But love follows the seasons.

This is something I am beginning to understand: there is love in each season, whether I see it or not. The colors of the leaves shout with a clear and crisp voice the joy and love and grace of its Artist. It is so easy to feel, see and accept the season of Fall’s love: winter is different. Winter has no flashy colors to prove of the love still existing. This is something I am beginning to try to understand. But I don’t do a good job. It is much easier to know something than it is to do something. I know a lot, but I do not understand much. For if I understood something then I would be more likely to act on it.

This past year, season of life, chapter in my book, whatever it should be called, was one with a lot of darkness. And there still is. I still am learning how to approach this scary world I live in, how to balance my extreme emotions, what it looks like to show love to someone that may have done something to not deserve it. I think it is safe this is something we all are trying to begin to understand.


I finally became inspired to write a blog last night when I read a specific verse in my Bible.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you…” 

Something I am beginning to understand: time. Regardless of what I am learning, trying to learn, have already learned, will never ever learn, the Lord is patient with me. The slowness as I know it can look like a week, a month even a year but that is not what I should focus on: within the slowness (as I see it) the Lord is being patient. I have seen my friend over the weeks, months and years be so very patient with me: I can only begin to understand how much more God is patient with me.

The seasons that are not full with bright flowers, vibrant colored leaves are not the seasons I want to be apart of. But they shall come my way regardless–maybe I should take the time to learn how to appreciate the beauty of the solitude.


A beautiful spirit wrote this, and I pray for myself and you that we can cling onto the truth.

Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”

-Madeline L’Engle  

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Beautifully drawn by: Victoria Burdette 

A Broken Light Bulb: Holy

To understand anything at all in life I find it mandatory for you to take the next seven minutes for yourself and watch no, experience the realness of these words.

Okay here you are. A Finger, Two Dots Then Me- A Short Film.

Hmmmmm it always seems to give me chills. I re-watched it numerous times before I decided to continue on. In all honesty I could just post a blog telling you guys to watch this video and call it a day. But where is the fun in that? One of my favorite teachers showed that to me and my good friend about two years ago. We weren’t even in high school anymore; just stopped in to say ‘hello.’ I remember after talking about it with the two of them I started focusing on the definition for myself, “what is holy?” The other day I found a journal I started two years ago and thought it was an appropriate season to revisit this haunting question.


Christmas is quickly approaching. And as it becomes closer to “the most wonderful time of the year” I like to ask people (as they are waiting for me to give them their delicious smoothie) if they have any fun holiday plans coming up. As you can image my answers are spread across the spectrum. While most people are cheerful when they say “nope, not this year! We’re staying home…” Not everyone feels that way; for most, it seems, this time of the year is the most stressful. And rightly so. Heart breaking as it is, I have heard from several guests that they are ready for Christmas to be over. And that is where I hurt for them, eh, for all of us really. This is the season that a little baby is born into this world, to bring love, hope and peace and dang it, we’re still focused on ourselves. God bless us. Don’t think I’m pointing any fingers, I’m right there with everyone else: in the boat of celebrating a Christmas with Christ off to the side. Even if I tell myself “I’m a good Christian who loves Jesus…”presents are cool too. There is grace for that.


So, yes, what is holy? As a little freshman in college who has just learned the beauty of art through written word this is my (sloppy) take on it. And I hope to soon refine it. But an outline is an outline is an outline…right?

A Definition of Holy: According to Meagan Grogan

Holy.

Well, there are holy cows but that just seems kind of obvious.

Holy: Another breath of air, a shared smile, lunch dates with a close friend, a second chance and fifth and twentieth, the setting sun, wind, the weight of a gun in a hand verses the weight of the pain in your heart, people watching, the love in a written note, making dinner for a family of six, saving money, a desperate phone call, the presence of another human. 

Holy. 

I just find the short story above so beautiful and complex and inspiring because he defines ‘holy’ in terms we all can understand. We carry with us a bit of holiness; trailing behind like fairy dust. Holy is being holy without knowing that it is in there. It’s not our doing. No. Remember we are the ones who would rather skip over Christmas just so we can have “christmas.” We are allowed to define moments as ‘holy’ because of the only one who is.

Skipping church on a rainy Sunday to stay in bed and read my Bible and journal is holy (while in my PJ’s). Not because I said so but simply because it just is.

The sky is blue.

I find topics such as this one to be the ones worth writing about; worth spending my free time day dreaming about; because for now I have said all that I need to say. But don’t worry come tomorrow I can pick up my pen and feel as though I never have begun: Holy.

 

A Loquacious World

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From all that has been created by a Loquacious Lord I have been gifted with the power of words; a loquacious poet, if you will. Yet do I even realize the mighty power these silly lines consequently formed into words have on this world (let alone myself?)

Yes, as it goes words have the power to create and destroy; to love and to hate, to reminisce on the past and hope for the future. But do we truly know? We hear it: do we understand it?

I can paint a glorious picture of the world outside without picking up a brush. I speak and life springs forth from the imaginative mind – all from the One who breathed life into the words itself. A good friend recently reminded me the weight our choice of words hold. She shared with me a piece of her own personal collection of words and from that I was fooled into believing someone else was present and speaking in the room. It’s funny. No one even notices the difference. Nobody ever does. Did anyone notice where those damn ducks went? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Do you see what I mean? Whether you would like to or not I can take you into the woods, sit you down at a long table covered in mismatched tabled clothes with an obnoxious amount of assorted tea cups and saucers, all underneath an  old tree. Why, words can become awfully confusing while having a conversation with a Hare, a Hatter and a sleepy Dormouse: do you know why a raven is like a writing-desk?

But even through the trouble words can cause us we pleasantly can stumble upon a fox waiting cautiously near his tree within a golden-field of wheat. And almost out of no where we are swept off our feet by a strange flock of migrating birds and taken to another planet. Unlike any other planet we have been to before (I don’t know about you but this is a first travel into space for me) this one is occupied with a confining rose ever so radiant. Here we are free to enjoy the pleasures of a child’s laugh.

In our everyday life we each are loquacious poets: unfortunately some misuse the power while there are others who are just ignorant of the world passing them by. That is why we have places such as the Doldrums and The Mountain of Ignorance; so these bodies will not feel out of their element within our world. But alas, for where there is darkness there is also light – the Sea of Knowledge will continuously spread till one day…

I hope I have not left you behind in one of our traveled to worlds, unless the choice was yours; enjoy a cup of tea as you look up at the stars. For at the end of the day we are in control of the words that flow from our lips. I pray life may grow from them. And just maybe, one day we will understand why it is a raven is like a writing-desk.

Keep pushing for truth. Don’t forget to love along your way.