I had my plans all set for the day. I was going to help make life easier for my mother. I made a list in my mind: wash the clothes, vacuum the floor, run some errands, get the Christmas tree out of the attic, wrap presents. I knew this would be such a help to her. So, I set out joyfully checking the items off the list as they were completed.
When I returned from errands my mother said, “How about a cup of tea.”
“Not now, Mom,” I replied, “I just want to get the things done on my list.”
I put a load of clothes into the washing machine. I got the tree out of the attic along with the decorations. Tree up – check. Decorations on – check. Then I took out the vacuum cleaner to attack the carpets.
I heard my mother call out, “Are you ready for that cup of tea?”
“Not yet, Mom,” I said, “you go ahead.”
“No, I’ll wait to enjoy it with you,” she answered.
I turned on the vacuum but her words, “I’ll wait to enjoy it with you,” echoed in my brain. It wasn’t the cup of tea that was important to her; she just wanted to spend some time with me, just enjoying being together. I turned off the vacuum and left it standing in the middle of the living room floor. The second load of wash could wait. I had plenty of time to wrap presents.
“I changed my mind, Mom,” I called out. “I’m ready for that cup of tea.”
“Okay!” she called back joyfully.
As we sat together, sipping tea, talking about everything and nothing, I said a silent prayer of thanks to Father for reminding me of what’s important. It’s not always doing. Many times, it’s just being. As my thoughts continued, I held back a tear that was trying to escape, as I imagined that one day there would come a time when I would long to have a cup of tea with my mother, but she just might not be around for me to do so.
Why do we all get so busy with life that we forget the value of time spent together? We do the same thing in our walk with God. With the best of intentions, we list all the things we want to do for God: church attendance – check, contributing to the church fund – check, cooking a meal for the poor – check; the list goes on and on. It’s all very good things to accomplish, but in the midst of our busyness comes the whisper of God that says, “Come to me, my loved one. Are you tired? I’ll give you rest. Are you troubled? I’ll ease your burden. Just come to me. Soak up peace and strength for the tasks at hand by resting in my presence. Take the time.”
You know what? After that lovely cup of tea with my mother, I still had plenty of time to do all the things on my list, but it was all the more peaceful for having taken time to sit, enjoy, have a cup of tea.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1