One day a middle aged couple came into the shop and when they saw the tables at the front of the shop, asked quietly if they could sit and have a cup of tea. I said, "Of course--have a seat and I'll bring you a menu.", in my normally cheery voice. They sat, ordered tea and scones, and said how much they appreciated this opportunity for respite from their weary travels. I didn't probe, but garnered that they were here in town because of a family illness or possibly even for a funeral.
They chatted softly with each other over their tea and within their time there, seemed a bit more relaxed by the time they had finished. As they got up to leave, they said how appreciative they were for the opportunity to relax and refresh in our serene environment, and said that this Tea Cup Story, which is in one of the pages of our menu, had deeply touched them and was so comforting to them at this juncture in their lives.
I love what I can bring to my community through the sharing of tea. I make very little money doing what I do, but this, fellow tea-lovers, is what it is all about. On this particular day, I was richly rewarded.The Tea Cup
There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in a beautiful antique store. This trip was to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked, "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."
As the lady handed it to them, the teacup suddenly spoke. It said: "I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of clay. A potter took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘Don't do that! I don't like it! Let me alone!’ but he only smiled and gently said, "Not yet!!"
"Then, WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me into a shape he liked. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick!' I screamed. But the potter only nodded and said quietly, “Not yet.”
”Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. ‘Help! Get me out of here!’ I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, “Not yet.”
"When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! ‘Ah, this is much better,’ I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Oh, please, Stop it, Stop it!!’ I cried. He only shook his head and said, “Not yet!”
“Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited… and waited, wondering ‘What's he going to do to me next?’
“A few hours later he handed me a mirror and said “Look at yourself.” And I did.
“I thought, ‘That's not me; that couldn't be me! It's beautiful. I…I…I'm beautiful!’ I said.”
Quietly he spoke: "I want you to remember…” Then he said, “I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. You'd still be nothing more than a lump of clay.
“I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but that is what has given you your magnificent symmetry.
“I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked and crumbled.
”I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in the second oven, your colors wouldn't have become so bright and beautiful. ”Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this.... Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.