There is a rose in the bottom of my tea cup. I only realized this for the first time while making hot water for my third cup of mint tea of the day. And I’ve had this cup for years.
I’m sure I’ve noticed it before. But not like this. Now I see something I’ve never seen before.
This morning I awoke with a powerful need for mint tea, which is, of course, the best tea. I chose a delicate blue cup with a majestic looking peacock giving me side eye from its perch while I sip my tea. The cup itself is something between a tea cup and a coffee mug. It suited my mood: delicate and feminine but not fragile, able to withstand whatever was thrown at it. I made myself a cup of tea and carried it all over the house with me. I made a second cup later in the day, probably around lunch time. At neither time did I see the blue rose at the bottom.
Now, the day is ending. I’m readying myself for bed. I see the cup sitting by the sink, a few sips of cold tea resting at the bottom. I decide it’s time for cup of tea number 3. I pour out the cold tea and rinse it out and then, just as I’m setting it down near the electric kettle, I notice a small blue rose at the bottom.
And I realize what a perfect metaphor it is.
I’ve probably seen the rose a hundred times over but never noticed it. I was so interested in getting the cup filled that I failed to see the beauty inside while it remained empty.
When the cup is full, it is full of the most wonderful substance known to man: mint tea. But the cup didn’t choose what it was filled with, I did. I decided what would make the cup worth my time. I decided what would make it beautiful to me. And while I was so anxious to fill the cup with what I needed, I failed to see that it already had something beautiful inside, something that was always there and placed there by its creator.
We rush to see what we want to see in others. Do they contain what we need? Can we fill them with the things and thoughts that we find beautiful and useful? If they don’t have what we want, will we leave them in search of someone who does have it? Can we ever see the beauty that’s already hidden inside them, placed there by their creator?
What about ourselves? We rush to fill ourselves as well. If we are empty, someone else can fill us or something else. But if we act quickly, we can choose what we are filled with. It’ll cover the beauty our creator put inside of us but what a small price to pay in order to feel full, useful, desirable, correct! In fact, it is a hefty price.
If I’d left the cup empty a bit longer, I could have enjoyed the beautiful rose in all its splendor. But I wanted tea. So the rose was washed out once again, muddied by the greenish brown hue of my tea.
What beauty would I find in myself, if I emptied myself out? What majesty did my creator place in me that I’ve been muddying all this time? I’d love to know.
Maybe I’ll find a rose in the bottom of my soul.