Sometimes life is just a broken tea bag.
You can boil the water to the perfect temperature, warm your favourite bone china cup, fill the cup to the exact level which still leaves room for milk…
And watch in horror as your teabag glumly and inexplicably bursts.
A limp, raggedy bag, a confused once-golden brew… and wildly rogue tea leaves.
Tea leaves spilling everywhere. Nasty, floaty, incorrigible bits of dried leaves swirling in your cup and waiting to snag in your teeth like a spinach pastry.
Honestly, if ever there was a year of broken tea bags, 2021 must be it.
Or maybe that was 2020.
Who knows? The years are kinda morphing together at this point. A horrifying gaggle of rippling lockdowns, soaring housing costs, ongoing job uncertainty and the odd tsunami warning thrown in for dramatic effect (yep, writing from Auckland).
When all we want is a decent cup of tea.
I am, by nature, a level-headed and, dare I say it, fairly woke person.
I try to remind myself to take most of life’s blows with some levity. Or endurance. Or even resignation, if that’s what is needed to deal with the moment.
Because no matter how low I get – and as a survivor of diagnosed C-PTSD and Anxiety, I can get pretty low – I know I’ll eventually find my feet. Yes, I may have taken on a few extra unhealthy coping mechanisms or some new awkward humour defaults, but the point is that I’m standing again.
So if I come out of the other side with useless Post-It-Notes, a new recipe for cake-free cake, and some epic yoga moves that no-one on this good green earth can actually physically embody…
Well, I still made it to the other side. And that’s what counts.
And it’s this inbuilt tenacity – this inexplicable yet profoundly human quality of resilience – that makes us bound to eventually get a good cup of tea.
And we need that tea, because life is really not that fair. Or sensible. Or easy.
In fact, lately it’s been downright shitty.
As a species, we are dealing with unimaginable stressors, worries and strains upon our homes, societies and even our globe.
We’re doing it tough right now.
But even if our collective rising up comes in waves, and even if we take turns to stand while others take a breather, and even if tea bags are bursting on us left and right…
We still keep trying.
We still keep believing for a better world and striving for a kinder community and sowing into a grander vision of the future.
And we do all of this in the face of and despite the messy teabags trailing hack-inducing ashes through our cups.
Because that’s the nature of resilience. And resilience is what runs in our nature.
And here we are: learning and adapting and making fresh cups of tea.
So your tea bag burst. Irreversibly.
And your milk expired. Last week.
And the stores are in lockdown mode. Again.
And standing for two hours on cramping feet in a shuffling, masked-up queue of small talk amidst potentially virus-laden strangers, makes buying fresh milk a hazard at best and an introvert’s nightmare at worst.
Yet somehow – against all the odds – some deep, visceral spirit within us drives us on.
To do what must be done. To brave the inconveniences.
To look that ripped tea bag in its inconsequential eye, calmly toss it in the trash, and start all over again.
So 2020 was the year of broken tea bags.
And 2021 is looking as though it’s got a personal vendetta against our favourite, slightly-chipped mug.
But we know how to make a fresh cup of tea.
Emma is an Italian-South African with a New Zealand passport and an international heart. She spent years training student choirs and co-running a puppeteering business, before working for a humanitarian organisation in New Zealand (7 years) and Papua New Guinea (3 years). Currently a nomad living between various countries and towns, Emma's deep joy is in writing, music, cooking up an Italian storm, and taking time to listen to people’s stories.
Read Emma's creative expressions at http://www.girlkaleidoscope.wordpress.com or https://pngponderings.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/finding-the-beauty/
Emma’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/emma-mcgeorge.html