elixir of life

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It’s a tall order for a simple cup of tea, but this one almost lives up to it.

When I was in NYC this spring for my brother’s graduation from college, my husband and I stumbled upon a small tearoom on the Lower East Side late one semi-rainy evening. There was one little table left, meant just for us, at Bosie, and their description of L’Age de Thé’s Tulsi Basil infusion clicked. It was touted as the “elixir of life” with spicy notes and no caffeine—perfect for a pre-bedtime cup.

By July, I’d already run out of the two ounces I’d brought home from Bosie, and sought out more at Dobrá Tea in Asheville. Their blend is bolder, with a strong licorice scent and flavor; I’m not sure if it’s lengthening my life, but brewing up these herbs on my travels provides a soothing regularity to the unpredictability that accompanies being away from home.

Reflecting on the many, varied environs I’d dragged my trusty tin of tea through over the last few months (above, at choir camp, right now!), I realized that—of course—God is the same way. God comes with us wherever we go, providing regularity, familiarity, to even the newest and most unpredictable of places.

Not that I need to let go of my Tulsi Basil tin, or shun the ritual I’ve come to love—boiling (or tracking down hot) water, measuring out the loose leaves into my mesh ball, letting the leaves steep extra long (it takes a lot for this tea to get bitter), and enjoying the delicious scented steam that rises off the cup almost as much as the infusion itself—but that I can also turn to God for regular, ritual calming (“peace”—to put it more deeply and expansively).

Of course, God is the true elixir of life. Through the peace which comes as a gift from God, we are able to love each other, to support each other in our lives–in our trials and in our successes.  Continually returning to God as our touchstone, Lord, focus, and animating spirit is the only “magical” potion in which we can hope to find life.

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