St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
I grew up secure in the knowledge that, when everything in my life was falling apart, a good cup of tea would provide comfort and perspective. Most of the time it was a standard ‘bagged’ black tea, the one with the advertising byline “Only available in Canada, you say? Pity!” The box often included a collectible, a tea card with a picture of an animal or bird or, even more captivating, a small, brownish china figurine, perhaps depicting a nursery rhyme character. If you are of a certain age you might have one of those still languishing in a cupboard somewhere!
No exotic Chinese, African or Indian brands made it to the A & P shelves in Montreal in that era, and herbal teas…well they were sometimes entertained, but for medicinal purposes only. No, it was simply tea, clear or with milk, milk and sugar, or would you prefer lemon? Steeped for six minutes, exactly(yes, mom!) and served, preferably, in a fine porcelain tea cup, but that was not a hard and fast rule.
The fact was that, although the hot beverage was perhaps restorative in itself, the real worth was in the pause; the time involved in sitting down for a ‘cuppa’. It could be even more helpful to calm an agitated mind if there was conversation shared or perhaps a wee cookie or slice of cake to nibble.
These days, when people are either still working from home or out in the pandemic whirlwind with all its added stresses, the ‘pause’ can be hard to come by. Even those things which nurture us, or are itemized in our Lenten makeover plan, can end up on a ‘to do’ list…go for a walk, get to bed early, attend a study online, join a zoom visit, make that telephone call…
Maybe we just need to stop, for a few minutes and welcome the new perspective the pause can bring. A deep breath, a cup of tea, and an intentional ‘letting go’ of the busy-ness, the worry, or the drive to get things done might just bring the peace and spiritual refreshment the Lenten journey offers.
Would you like a madeleine with that?