Originally Posted on 2/27/16
Growing up, out of respect, whether a person was blood related or not they were addressed as Aunt or Uncle. Even though my immediate family was on the small side, my extended family was HUGE! Another one of the women who has made such an impact on my life brought a tradition down through the ages.
Aunt Matilda shared something with me a very long time ago that I have cherished ever since. She would sit at the end of the night and sip, very leisurely sip, her cup of tea. I never understood what would take her so long. It was good tea and it always took me a fraction of the time that it did her to devour it.
One night I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know why she sat there in silence, oblivious to the world, just sipping and ignoring everything and everyone around her. I asked her, “Why does your tea last longer than mine?” Please do remember, I was much younger than and looked at life very differently. She didn’t hear a word I said.
I waited a few minutes and tried again, “Aunt Matilda, my tea is all gone already. Why do you still have yours?” Again there was no response.
So I did what any curious eight year old girl would do. I tugged on her arm and almost spilled the rest of her tea. Now I had her attention!
“Yes, what is it?” was all she said.
I watched her eyes. They looked like they had been in a far-a-way place. Where had she gone all that time? Why had she gone anywhere? I needed to know those answers! Without thinking about what I was asking, “Where were you?” came tumbling out of my lips.
“Ah, I see your tea is gone.” That’s how she started the lesson for the night that would stay with me forever and change my life once I was old enough to truly appreciate the gift I was being given. “Let’s just say I floated off for a while. I’ve been sipping my tea while you’ve been drinking yours. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Promise you’ll pay close attention?”
Of course I promised. It was a secret!
She continued, “I’ve been sipping my tea because it makes me feel better. We sat down with a cup of hot tea. That first sip, the hottest one, I sent straight up as a prayer of thanks for my day. I sipped and said, ‘Thank you for this day and everything in it…all the good, the bad, the indifferent. Thank you for the lessons, the gifts, and the love.’ Then with each sip that came after I just sat here being thankful. It gives me the feeling of floating. I just let go of all the yuck from the day and let the good stuff sink in. It takes me longer to finish my tea because I’m doing more than just drinking it. I’m sipping in all the good from the day and giving thanks for every single drop. My last sip, the one you see me open my eyes and come back to this world with, I send up a ‘thank you’ for tomorrow morning, for knowing that I will wake up and be able to enjoy another day. Tomorrow night when we have our tea do you want to sip with me?”
Did I ever! I wanted to know what it was like going where she went every night. The only answer I needed to give her, because my eyes said the rest, was, “Yes!”
Sit with a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever calls to you and send that first sip straight up, “Thank you for my day and every moment of it.” Then just enjoy all the good your day brought to you. Last sip, don’t forget about tomorrow. The best part of a Cup of Gratitude is, the ‘gift’ within the cup, I sleep better. I feel so much more at peace when I’m done with that last sip, and I truly look forward to tomorrow morning. Aunt Matilda gave me so much that night. It took me until years later to truly understand the magnitude of the gift.