Cleaning the Tea Leaves

It's an annoying job to dispose of soggy tea leaves. I have a beautiful little blue teapot, and occasionally I make myself a nice pot of tea. The act of brewing a cup of tea is just so soothing for me.

“When the world is at odds

And the mind is all at sea

Then cease the useless tedium

And brew a cup of tea” (Anon)

Then comes the difficult job of cleaning out the tea leaves.

My musings are like used tea leaves – the tea has been drunk and enjoyed – that is found in the experience of life. The leaves are grown and produced somewhere else – not here. Like forefathers and traditions, I now try to discern what to make of it. What to do with those deep things. The residue of life.

God is in the tea leaves.

He is in the questions and the answers.

He is in the mystery.

He is in the wonderful traditions that make up our spiritual practices and in the haphazard sways between.

In his beautiful work, "I want YOU to BE', Tomas Halik says 'there are some questions that are too good to spoil with answers, that should remain an open window. Such openness need not lead to resignation but to contemplation."

The leaves look sad and used, but they have brought joy – rich is the experience of the cup of tea. Rich is my experience of the spirit. Although not always satisfying. Not ever complete with results or success.

My writing is a report on the Way – a mid-term paper.

We live in a world that likes things packaged up – neat – clear – finding the details are written down and itemized for every occasion. Survey results. Top ten lists for everything from public toilets in Moscow to Thai food restaurants in Brooklyn. The fine print is having its moment in the sun. Meanwhile, the mystery is the quiet winner. In the secret place, we find satisfaction in the questions without needing answers.

Thomas Aquinas strongly asserts that "God is not evident" He's not? Right? As much as our faith, (especially my faith practices of yesteryear) try to convince us to believe that,

'There He is'

'Right there'

'Don't you see him'

'Don't miss him'

Yet He remains elusive in many ways. Many religions try to convince us that he is closer than we think. Which is both true and not.

It's in the tea leaves. It's in the pot. A place that takes time to clean out. To clean out traditions and make way for new ones. A place to savour traditions and a place to throw them out.