Advent 1.5: Another cup


Last night I get home and *definitely* don't feel like going out again: cold, dark, drizzly, gas tank close to E, not to mention introvert insides and a tail flopping, belly rub addicted canine to my left.

But I suck up all the extrovert I have, all the small courages it takes to get through a day (and a night), (and a week), (and a month), re-zip my boots, re-fill my car, head across town with my laptop in tow.

Two hours, two pizza slices, heaps of kale salad later I feel full, satisfied, know it has been worth it--the food, the company, hearing my words and ideas processed and uplifted by once strangers, now friends. A reminder that this work matters, that I have the space in mind and heart.

Our shining bright hostess, so giving of her home and time, offers tea, which I never turn down: the warm slide down my throat, stomach settling into ease, the heat soaking my bones--what I need whether it's an early morning, slow afternoon, or wind-down night. And she says that she will serve tea the Uzbek way.

The joy with which she says it gives me joy, her family legacy alive; she pours the boiling water into a teapot, brings out cheerful cups, no handles, painted in brilliantly detailed blues and greens. The first pour into the cup goes back into the pot--deepening the flavor, she explains, bringing out the jasmine scent.

I savor the first helping, then request a second, gladly given. The tradition, she tells us, is to first fill the cup only halfway--so the guest will ask for another cup and stay longer, so the tea isn't too hot to drink, so the host's generosity has the chance to flourish. Length and breadth, warmth and depth.

A dear friend just happened to send me an excerpt from Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog today:

" all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb.

So, let us drink a cup of tea."

Driving home, the streets are empty and the front lawns beam with lights.

I'm not sure what this has to do with Advent, but I wanted to tell you about it.