She wound up the last of her household chores and rested her aching feet on the chair. The chair creaked loudly, as though in protest. Having bathed and put three noisy kids to bed, cooked, and polished the kitchen sink until it shone, she looked forward to spending some quality time on her own.
The radio was on, playing an old favourite and she hummed as she shut her eyes and imagined herself far away from here. Away from her humdrum life of endless picking up after the children, obsessing over their homework and cooking for her husband.
The day’s work done, she looked forward to a steaming cup of tea. Suddenly energised, she got to her feet, heated water, poured some milk and pried open the tea jar. The jar was empty. No tea bags, no tea.
What a disappointment!!!
She rushed over to the neighbours house to borrow some tea bags. Unfortunately, they had none. They were happy to lend her some coffee powder. Filter coffee from Coorg, straight from the legendary coffee plantations. Or so, they claimed. But she declined. All she wanted was her precious tea.
Key in the ignition, one turn, and her car fired up as if ready for flight. She was on her way to the supermarket. She marched urgently through the aisles, scanning the shelves for signs of the elusive tea bags. But couldn’t find any. This is strange, she thought. She beckoned a uniformed attendant, and asked him where the tea bags were.
He explained that earlier that day, some pesky rodents attacked an area of the supermarket, causing them to dispose off all the tea bags. He assured her that the stock would be replenished the following day. In the meanwhile, he was happy to help her pick out some apple juice, coffee, Red Bull or any other liquid comfort of her choice.
Truly vexed, she shrugged off his suggestions, turned on her heel and left.
Her story ends here. But, it may remind you of an event in your own life, when you’ve wanted one particular thing so much, but simply couldn’t get it. You were offered much else to substitute for that one thing, but it just wasn’t the same. Even if you did manage to settle for a replacement, you still felt the emptiness of not getting what you wanted.
I’ve had similar experiences, when I’ve tried to look for happiness in the wrong places. In my work, in material things, in other people. I was often left disappointed and stricken with a sense of emptiness, which only God has since filled.
Secondly, it also brings to mind our tunnel vision. We are so engrossed in seeking a certain thing, that we develop a one-track mind and refuse to consider other possibilities, even though they may be better for us and make us happier.
Thirdly, if you consider this situation carefully, you will also realise the extent of communication gaps between people. We may want only that one thing so badly. Yet people don’t seem to understand. They offer us everything, except the one thing that we are asking for. Most often, they don’t realise what the big deal is. Mainly, because they tend to view things from the lens of their own perspectives, preferences and choices.
Sometimes, it’s hard for us to settle for something we don’t want. We end up waiting a long time, often a lifetime, for what we do want. Sometimes we get it and sometimes we don’t. That’s the way life rolls.
Frequently, what we want may be very simple and something that is fairly accessible for other people. But it seems so difficult for us to acquire it, when we want it, on our timeline. At such times, I guess we’d do well to remember that God has it all under control and will make it happen in His time, if it is His will.
And if by any chance, life gives you lemons, when you’ve asked for tea, squeeze until you make the best lemonade ever. And make that your cup of tea!