Last summer, my mother and I split four ounces of a loose leaf tea called "Ice Wine Blend" from a little tea shop outside of the Shipshewana Flea Market. To be honest, by the time we got to the tea shop, I was not expecting much. I hadn't perused the market since high school when I got the stellar shirt below. For some reason, it is not me wearing it here. I'm the cloud-haired girl with the golden handle-bar moustache. My cousin Kari was the sucker in my screenpainted "You Can't Touch This" wife beater (size XXL).
This time wasn't much more of an experience. But cheap clothes, chumpy toss offs aside, there were some gems there. Like the lovely tea shop. Mom and I brewed and iced the "Iced Wine" blend. And then, split the final few ounces. I saved it for a special occasion, like tonight.
Tonight I went for tea with Christina, who once danced, and still does, in her grace and artfulness. While I enjoyed her company, I was reminded of a few things and people for whom I am thankful.
- Elena, who taught me that self-care is sustainable living
- Christina, for being a tool of God, in spite of what she struggles with daily
- A cup of hot tea, for as the good Elder Sophrony says, "“Stand at the brink of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little, and have a cup of tea."
- A day off to have tea, to finish my grandmother's book, to make other's happy in some small way.
- A husband who lets me write, work, and grade on my day off.
- A warm house. It is very very cold out. Some folks can't afford this.
- Food on my table. Some weeks are slim, but beans are amazing.
- Life. My mother was a teen mom. She and my dad could have made more financially safe choices, but I wouldn't be here.
- Great spiritual ancestors such as my great-grandma Edna, my Grandparents on both sides, my in-laws.
- Loving my church as my family.
- Being able to move still. It may not always be and I should be thankful for today and what is real today.
- The Mother of God. I'm getting to know her. She's especially important today, as we remember lives lost to abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, the convulted ethics of war, medicine, and justice.
- My two kids. I will never never ever not think that they have been a great tool of my salvation, and that I wouldn't go to heaven, except that they make me better persons.
- My parents. For. Every.Thing.
- My in-laws. For. Every.Thing.
- Poetry, for being the best form of protest, and stories, for telling more truth than most essays.