Sunday, August 27, 2023

A cozy cup of tea (Or coffee. Or cocoa. Or chicken broth)

Last night, the kids went off to bed and I made myself a cup of hot chocolate. I heated milk in the pan and mixed in some cocoa powder. I sprinkled in some chocolate chips. I splashed some vanilla extract into the pot. I gently whisked the milky mixture as the house filled with the savory smell of the za’atar manaqish that I was preparing for an event at church.  Soon, I sat with my husband as we talked through our schedule, full cup of hot chocolate in hand. The world slowed down as I sipped.

There’s just something special about curling up with a warm drink.

Books, movies, and television shows covering different historical periods and cultures embrace the goodness of a warm drink. At the end of a long day solving mysteries or dealing with heartbreak, characters gather in the kitchen for a cup of cocoa. They begin the day with strong cups of tea to weather them against any storms and turmoil. Or, like the Ray family in the classic Betsy-Tacy novels, they greet moments of stress or crisis with a fresh pot of coffee.

While we still gather with friends and family for mugs of hot coffee or dainty cups of tea, in modern America, we’ve shifted things.

Tea and coffee have ceased to be gentle embraces of warmth and relaxation with friends, and they have instead found their place next to the computer or in the car. We now see them as ways to fuel ourselves with caffeine and push through the day (and yes, as I write this, I’m sipping a hot mug of coffee). I’m not planning to ditch caffeinated beverages anytime soon as I try to keep up with my several young children, but it’s important to remember that we need to slow down. We need to stop, sit with friends or by ourselves, and savor the warmth of that coffee, tea, or cup of cocoa.

Remember when the Scandinavian concept of hygge swept across bookstores and internet conversations? Deep in our hearts, we long for this hygge and the true relaxation, warmth, coziness, and community that it offers. Yet, we’ve gotten swept up in the whirlwind of life and politics and schedules and the illusive "status quo,” and we’ve forgotten our need for rest.

I’m trying to remember—although it’s hard to do in our chaotic culture and with rambunctious small children.

Perhaps this is why, on a recent evening after the kids went to bed, I donned a hooded sweatshirt and made a cup of herbal tea—despite the triple-digit temperatures that had beamed down on our city that day. Perhaps this is why I’ve started sipping cups of English breakfast tea throughout the afternoon—to energize myself through those hectic hours before bedtime, yes; but also, to savor that warmth and slowness in spite of the external chaos. I want to slow down, even for just a moment. I need to slow down. It's good for my body, and it’s also good for my soul. It’s a chance to stop—even for a moment—and be still. It’s a small way to unite myself with God and to rest in him.

Whether you prefer coffee or tea, cocoa or bone broth, don’t be afraid to claim the time and space for curling up with a warm drink. In our full lives, it may be challenging to do even this simple thing, but it’s well worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment