By Lettie • October 6, 2020

When I was 22 yrs-old I experienced a neighbor's deep and warm heart. I had been home from college since December, seriously depressed and "lost" after the loss of a long-term relationship. By summertime my mother's neighbor and friend, a woman everyone knew and liked, came to the house and invited me to tea at her home that evening. That night she set out a beautiful tea set (she was British and told me she was going to make English tea for me). I was the total focus of her every word...how did I like my tea?, how did I like my summer job?, etc. Then she looked so warmly at me and told me she would share her story. She came to America because she had lost a man who she had loved deeply, and she was so sad that she needed to change countries. She told me, over that cup of tea, her pain and sorrow, and that she knew more than anyone that I needed to make a detailed plan how to go forward! We ended at 2:00 a.m.! What a heartwarming and unforgettable cup of tea!

When I was 26 yrs-old I'd completed a degree, spoke fluent Spanish, and was working with a campaign in Spanish Harlem in New York City. One evening a family invited me inside to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk. As I was led by a jubilant wife and husband to their living room, this young wife excused herself and went to the kitchen to make Cafe con Leche, the dark expresso coffee and warm milk! As we chatted away we smelled the most delectable fragrance, and when it was served it was the most perfect thing I'd ever drunk...all while being included in an evening of bubbly cheerful delight! What a cup of coffee - so much fullhearted love served with it!

When I was 38 yrs-old I was teaching English in Japan. One young woman wanted to say "thank you" in a special way when her lessons were completed. On the day of her last lesson she brought her "tea set". It was a lovely box with all the elements for a Japanese tea ceremony. She quietly knelt at my coffee table, poured green tea powder into a bowl, added hot water, whisked it gently with a brush, and then place some tiny pieces of gold leaf on top! And silently held it out to me to drink with both hands, smiling sweetly. I was stunned at the beauty of her gift AND at her tender heart, because it was so much more than a bowl of tea!


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