Friday, August 20, 2010

A Cup of Tea

One evening recently I wrote the words, "I choose you!" at the top of my journal. Earlier that day I'd been writing about a difficult experience during an otherwise great visit with my two sisters this summer. A question came from a tender place.

"Would my sister choose me?"

Some history is needed to put this in context. Sometimes I struggle to believe and to trust my sisters' love for me. Most of the time I know it, but invariably when all three of us get together an old familiar pattern gets triggered and I lose hold. Old feelings of being on the outside and never in the "inner circle" drift in and stay.

As I let the question linger for awhile, a memory came back when I was a little girl. One of my sisters had a secret club with a close friend of hers. They had a special box, a special language, and even a special password. Their creativity was quite impressive and they had a blast playing together. One day I asked if I could be in the club. Sadly, the answer back was "No". I'm sure my little heart was completely broken. As an adult I understand the dynamic and impulse between siblings, but that little girl in me still hurt very much.

A bit later that day while pondering this memory, I saw a picture of myself as a little girl and with no one to share her tea. I hurt for her broken heart and for the seeds of rejection that often get planted at a young vulnerable age. I felt much compassion for her. I imagined going up to her and saying, "Hello there. What'cha doing?" She looked up shyly and I asked if I could share a cup of tea. She smiled and immediately poured the invisible tea into our tea cups.

"This is a very pretty tea set." She smiled again and showed me the beautiful flowers on the cups and saucers. I find her completely delightful as I sit in the tiny chair holding the tiny cup from the tiny tea set. "This tea is fabulous. May I have more?" and she asks, "Would you like some cookies, too?" We talk a bit and I ask more questions and then she begins to chat on and on as little kids do carrying on a one-way conversation that I don't completely follow. It was delightful. She was delightful.

In the course of working through our difficulty, my sisters asked me something that in some ways startled me. They asked me to trust that they love me. Years ago a dear friend told me something I've never forgotten. We were walking through a rough patch and I wanted to pull back and retreat into a protective shell. At some point she said, "I trust the God in you". Her words conveyed to me that she trusted the God I knew and she trusted His working in my life. It meant so much to me that she was not going to leave our friendship.

Parts of me wanted to pull away and question my sisters' commitment and love. My pattern is to choose this path, but for some reason I didn't take it this time. I rehearsed over and over again during the sleepless night that my sisters both love me and are committed to me. I could see each of their faces saying these words and I clung to this during the struggle.

Maybe I won a battle that night as I chose to resist the temptation to disbelieve their commitment. Perhaps maybe in this sleepless night I believed I too am worth choosing.


Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

UPDATE: Yesterday, I shared my blog post with a dear friend and she later posted the tea set photo on her Facebook with the words, "Tea anyone? Lisa?". Brought joy to my heart, so I had to attach to the blog post. She took this photo at a tea party with her granddaughter who supplied the bunny crackers and gummy bunnies.