You just baked a yummy cake. It came out great! Should you keep it all for yourself or share it with others?
You just cleaned your house. You fluffed the pillows and polished the wood. The tables are dust free. The place looks as neat as it’s ever going to be. Should you sit back and take a nap in this clean, tidy place or invite someone over?
You just bought some new clothes. They make you feel like a million dollars. Should you put them on, sit alone in your clean tidy house having a piece of that yummy cake – all by yourself – or should you invite someone over for Afternoon Tea? The answer seems clear to me. How ’bout to you? Remember . . .
Sharing Doubles the Joy.
You may drink coffee by the gallon as I do, but at four o’clock it’s tea time at my 1853 Jeremiah Brown house. I’m usually alone for this teatime and I usually keep it simple – no bakery or other savories. I simply enjoy sipping some Jasmine, Apricot or Earl Grey tea from a pretty china cup. It’s a peaceful ritual that gives me pleasure. My companions for this daily teatime are usually “dead friends” (that is, persons of the past who share with me by way of their autobiography or personal letters.)
Currently my tea time companion is Agatha Christie. I do so enjoy hearing about her life in England. What a memory she has too. Agatha’s been telling me details of her life as a child – how she would play with imaginary kittens and pretend that she herself was a kitten. So many famous authors were like Agatha. They cultivated rich imaginations from their early years. Children today would do well to put away their technological toys now and then and cultivate their imaginations as well.
Sometimes God drops in to join me and my “dead friend” for tea. He does this as I read a few pages from Tea Time with God, a devotional published by Honor Books. (You see I have an imagination like Agatha.) Tea time becomes quite the “spiritual” time when spent with these types of companions.
But once every month I love fussing to create an afternoon tea for living, breathing friends. I enjoy going off to the local flower market to choose a pretty bouquet for my table. I delight in selecting just the right linen and china for each gathering. It’s artistic. It’s creative. It’s fun! It’s a gift I give to others, but I enjoy this gift right along with my guests.
So you see I have my daily teas which are relaxing and quite spiritual, but also tea parties which are a bit more fuss, but totally delightful in quite a different way. Variety is the spice of life.
My guests always seem to enjoy themselves at tea. What’s not to enjoy? Look at those smiling, serene faces.
Tea time takes us into a world of conversation and beautifully-prepared (whether homemade or purchased) food. The tea setting may be simple, but with beautiful flowers at the table, the twinkle of candlelight and the delicacy of china, it’s easy to create a graciousness that is very out of the ordinary and capable of delighting everyone present. In this dramatic scene the host and guests play roles of equal importance to the tea and food. It’s all about sharing.
The Tea ritual helps everyone feel more civilized and in today’s crazy world we need all the help we can get with that.
So the next time you feel like baking a little something or maybe you go off to the market and purchase some delectable goodies. . . the next time you get the urge to clean up your house getting it looking quite ready to be photographed for House Beautiful magazine . . . the next time you pull yourself together and feel like presenting yourself to the world . . . consider calling a friend or two for Afternoon tea.
You can fuss with finger sandwiches, scones and several pastries or keep it simple serving only cinnamon toast and/or chocolate chip cookies. It’s not the food so much as the gracious sharing in a peaceful pretty setting. It’s taking the time to be. It’s taking the time to share – to share your home, to share some tea, to share yourself.
Sharing Doubles the Joy
Afternoon tea has the power to transport us to a wonderful state of being. We leave our work behind. We enter a gracious state and even when tea-time is over the peaceful feelings linger allowing us to be in a more gentle place.