Teapots

When I was a little girl, I had a tea set that I adored.

What I loved most about it was that it wasn’t the plastic toy kind.

It was real. White porcelain.

My favorite piece was the teapot.

It was so elegant with its spout shaped like a swan’s neck.

Smooth with pink flowers painted on it.

It was delicate.

But I, at age 8, was very remiss.

Within a year, the teacups were cracked, and some saucers were lost.

And the teapot?

Well, the teapot was chipped and scratched.

The spout I so admired had pieces broken off it.

I had used it so much and handled it so carelessly that its quality had deteriorated.

I feel like a teapot sometimes.

Full of warm yummy goodness and always ready to pour.

And for the past few weeks, I’ve been tipped over quite a bit.

Pouring for those who need a taste of currency.

Filling mugs with support for the emotionally deficient.

Topping off tumblers for the parched, the thirsty, and anyone who happens to have an empty cup.

Steadily flowing.

Always tilted.

But this teapot is just about empty.

Her handle is brittle.

Her spout is about to fall off.

Yet cups continue to request refreshment.

Still, palms pat the bottom of the teapot, hoping drops will dance out.

It can get weary doing for others.

It can get weary caring for others.

It can get weary being there for others.

It can.

It will.

Especially if you yourself are not being replenished.

But I’m learning that it is necessary to retreat.

Jesus did it often.

After healing the sick feeding the hungry, and speaking to the spiritually starved, He’d go off alone to be with the ultimate source, God.

The Lord never stopped His care for His people.

But He knew when He had to get away.

 It is OK to halt the flow for a spell.

Take it from a teapot.

Role

 I didn’t know that I was stepping into a role.

I stood in my aunt’s bathroom, smiling at myself.

My lips were covered in cocoa glass.

My eyelids shimmered with desert clay.

My lashes plumped from threads to ropes.

I was 13 and in preteen girl heaven.

My aunt, a make-up fiend, had bins full of cosmetics…

…that I helped myself to…

…every morning.

Since my aunt left early for work, my morning duty was to get her daughter, 4-year-old Cheyenne, ready for preschool.

I’d help her brush her teeth, pick out her overalls and put a few ponytails in her hair.

But once Cheyenne was ready, I’d turn on the television and sneak into the bathroom.

I thought I was slick.

Surely Blue’s Clues was more than enough to keep a little girl occupied and still.

But as I watched myself in the mirror, Cheyenne was peeking…and watching me.

As she grew older, she went from watching me to asking me.

“Can I wear your shirt?”

“Can I go with you there?”

“When are you coming back?”

And now at age 19, from asking me to seeking from me.

“What do you think about that? I know you’ve done that.”

“That really encourages me because you went there.”

“I don’t know what God wants. What should I do?”

I didn’t know that I was stepping into a position.

Rose was always the cute little girl on the pew, 3rd from the back.

A couple of years younger than me, Rose’s sparkling chatter during the sermon was always a happy distraction.

Now at 22, her vivaciousness was still there.

One Sunday afternoon, as we lingered in the church parking lot, Rose looked to the left.

A woman had just passed by, walking cuddle close with a man.

When Rose turned back to me, her expression was sad and familiar. 

“Has a guy ever told you that you were different?”

The question came from a spot I knew well, my hometown and my present address.

Our conversation became an ocean, deepening with each sentence.

Every sore she exposed, I found myself trying to soothe.

The hour grew late so I left her with a few final words.

She sent me an email days later, marveling about our conversation and saying that she  had always looked up to me.

 Look up to me?

Really?

I didn’t know that I had an audience.

I didn’t know that I was locked in a pose.

I didn’t know that my role as me, in good weather or in bad light, would be used as an example or cited as a source.

 I’ll strive to play my role the best way I can.

————————————————————

“Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

-1 Timothy 4:12

New you

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a real life Afro. A thick luscious Angela Davis-full, Soul Glo-dewy afro. What made the style unusual is that it was worn by a teenager. He reminded me of a lollipop due to the contrast of the massive hair with his popsicle thin body. One of my friends asked him about his hair and why he chose to grow it so long. He responded nonchalantly and guardedly, with no real interest or joy. When he walked away, my friend decided that he wasn’t really interested in growing his hair but…

“he’s interested in creating a personality.”



There could be some truth to that. Sometimes, when we want to generate new selves, we deviate outwardly. Wearing one earring, risque clothing, ultra long acrylic nails, floor length weaves.


Maybe it’s because the change is immediately visible. When I was 13, I began to wear glitter on my eyelids. It was some cheap goo I got from a beauty supply store. The shiny flecks made me itch but I thought I looked gorgeous. Dramatically different.  


Of course, it was just temporary. Gradually, I got tired of the glitter and moved on to the next thing that would “transform” me. 


So glad I know now that internal renovation is not as quick but just as important and more lasting.