Dunker or Steeper?

I am trying to be a good steward and use up all my tea bags. It isn’t easy. Since discovering the real flavor of tea found in quality loose leaf tea, I now know that the brightly colored boxes of tea at the grocery store are purveyors of false promises. They lure me in with beautiful packaging but inside is nothing more than inferior crushed leaves wrapped in paper. The Twinnings and Bigelow brands at least individually wrap their tea bags in packages to help preserve the flavors. I am drinking a cup of Twinnings Earl Grey with Lavender this morning.

As I prepared my morning cup I thought about a Bible lesson I taught to a group at a seniors independent living home. It has been many years but every now and again I am reminded of the lesson and the demonstration I used to make my point. It has a great deal of value for many things in life.

Object Lesson

Funny, I don’t remember the scripture or the context of what I taught. I think the demonstration was the object. There were never very many folks who came to these little sessions. It was likely the ones who didn’t enjoy any other form of social interaction, but that was OK, I always loved going and volunteering with the residents.

I set up two clear cups of hot water. I began talking about the role of Bible reading in our lives and why it is important. As I talked I placed one tea bag in a cup of water to allow it to begin steeping. Then, in a random manner, I would dunk a tea bag in and out of the other cup. At the end of the time I had two very different cups of tea.

Strength Comes With Immersion

As I talked I put one bag into the cup of hot water and just left it alone. Slowly the water began to turn pale brown. Every now and again I would dunk and remove the other tea bag into the second cup. I continued talking.

By the end of the lesson one cup was a deep, rich brown and the other looked like dirty water…pale and flavorless. The point of the lesson was that with consistent reading and study of the Bible we grow strong in our faith and knowledge of God. But I now know there are other life lessons to be learned from tea.

Learning New Skills

When it comes to hobbies and artistic pursuits, I am a dunker. I want to be a steeper, but I get distracted and before I know it I am off chasing something new and different. I like learning and trying new things then once I know the basics I want to move on to something else. I long to be the kind of person who works really hard in one area and masters it. And since my hobby became my work this personality trait is a real problem. I look around me at the steeper’s who started in the fiber arts at the same time I did and how far they moved in their chosen area of expertise. Their singular focus allowed them to grow strong and proficient in their chosen area.


Now, this is an area I can honestly say I am a steeper. I typically stay in for the long haul even when it is not necessarily in my best interest. But I think I have finally learned to let relationships go if they are not good for my emotional well being. It took me many years to get to this place. In my first marriage I stayed in the hot water until I was bitter and no amount of cajoling or counseling was going to change my mind. In my second marriage I endured the hot water but the blend was right and the water wasn’t always hot.

The Perfect Cup

When brewing tea there are a few things that must be just right in order to allow the tea to reach perfection. First, the water has to be fresh and just the right temperature. Next, the leaves need room to expand and grow. And finally the tea needs to steep for a specific amount of time to reach peak flavor; too long and it becomes bitter, too short and the liquid is weak and flavorless.

In life as in tea, choose wisely and steep to perfection.

Until tomorrow, keep looking up, embrace today and go have some fun!

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