Family, Friendship

Cups Of Tea

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.

William Ewart Gladstone, British Statesman

This quote describes me although changing “tea” to “making tea” would also be accurate. I suspect I make more tea than I drink. The exception should have been aboard the Emerald Princess this week as I cruised to Canada. However, I learned today that teatime is no longer offered daily.

I don’t know if I will make the only teatime offered because the number of guests is limited. If I do, I suspect that the waiters in white jackets moving among the white-clothed tabletops will remind me of my aunt who likes to ask, “Who will bring her a cup of tea?” (See here.)

May someone bring you a cup of tea this week.


The Friendship Balance

A friend was moving and leaving not only a void in my life and others, but also a void in our church ministry. Anne* repeatedly told me that she was praying for someone to fill the gap. I doubted someone would serve us the way she had. I doubted I could work as easily with another person.

I frequently thought, “Pray all you want, but it won’t be the same.”

And I was right. I was given more.

My heart was knit to my new friend more deeply and more quickly than I could have imagined. I accepted this better friendship without explanation, but a mutual friend eventually did explain. “With Anne, everything was about us. Nothing was about her,” she said.

Anne asked, “How are you doing? How can I help you? How can I pray for you?” She didn’t answer those same questions. The rare times she mentioned her life, I felt privileged to be trusted.

My new friend was vulnerable. She revealed her heart. She asked me to pray for her. There was a needed balance in my new relationship.

*A pseudonym

How is your friendship seesaw?

Friendship, Lies I Believed

Do I Really Pick My Friends?

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.

Until I was fifty, I believed that ubiquitous lie. Sort of. The truth came to me as I sat on the sofa of a couple who had recently moved to another state. My husband and I had deviated from our route during a trip that was already too long—in both miles and time—to see them.

I remember thinking, “When we met seventeen years ago, I would never have imagined I would be sitting here today.”

When we met, we were outwardly incompatible, and we remained that way. However, we were friends. Shared life had made us friends.

Thinking back, I only tried to pick my friends twice. It didn’t work with Valerie in third grade. It did with Jennifer in seventh grade. All my other friends appeared. Divine encounters. Shared experiences. Shared ministries. Shared projects. Shared thoughts, All involved moments when something clicked that was out of my control.

Along the way I learned that I don’t control my friendships. Friends are a gift to be received, just as my family is a gift to be received.

Who is your unlikely friend?

Family, Friendship

Enjoying Our People

Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.

A Wise Son

A friend came to town last week. It wasn’t a casual visit. We hadn’t seen each other since the month before Covid hit, and during that time, she and her husband had moved over a thousand miles away. And yet, it seemed casual—as if we had just chatted in the church hallway. We both said so.

But we knew better. And so, instead of our previous too-few minutes talking in person or our hour-long phone conversations, we spent over seven hours face-to-face. Like other conversations, we covered a wide range of topics and emotions, and we prayed.

My friend gave me some advice, which I want to share. She said I could. After listening to her complain about one person’s behavior, her son said, “Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.”

Wow! We know we should let things go. But do we remember to enjoy what is left? Letting go and enjoying sounds like a combination worth remembering.

Who do you need to start enjoying?

Favorites, Friendship, Parenting

I Need Holding Help (From June 21 2020)

A republished blog for the third anniversary of 100 words.

For weeks, I listened to a tough, tender former Army Ranger instruct his children.  “Do not say, ‘I can’t.’ Instead, say, ‘This is hard. I need help.'” 

He drilled his children. “Yes, you can. It may be hard. You may need help, but you can do it.”

One Saturday, I was hiking in a rain forest in Brazil with this cousin and his four children. We had strayed from the main trail in order to explore, and the miles were adding up. The almost-four-year-old turned to me and said, “This is hard. I need help.”

“What kind of help?” I asked.

“Holding help.”

I picked him up and carried him for a while.

Trails in Guaratiba, Brazil where my cousin’s preschool son required “Holding Help.” (Below, I am in the pink top.)

I took hold of my cousin’s response to “I can’t.” It acknowledges the hard we face. It avoids the argument about whether something can or cannot be done. It supplies a solution.

Do you need holding help for your hard? Does someone need your holding help for their hard?