The truth about heat.
Heat brings out flavor and character. While it’s true that fire refines (purifies) us, heat brings out what is inside.
Almost weekly, I mix up concentrate for Iced Tea, 5 gallons, most times. That’s because there are folks in my house who just have to have their sweet southern tea. Plus, when folks stop in at my house, they expect to be offered Tea, ’cause this is the south!
I start with the same maroon kettle that has steeped thousands of gallons of tea in the last thirty-five years. Cold water first. Turn the burner on high and let the water come to a rolling boil. During that time, I collect the bags of tea and clamp them with a hemostat so they’ll stay together.
Once the clear water is boiling, the bags are pushed down into the water. Instantly, the water changes to brown as the heat draws out the tea inside those bags. It never ceases to amaze me – how the temperature and liquid draw out what’s inside. Nobody has to guess what’s inside those bags. No speculation on color or flavor, because it’s evident for all to see, smell, and taste. The fragrance from steeping tea – or coffee- fills the house and is evident to anyone present.
Recently, I’ve used Echinacea tea as a way to boost my immune system. This tea – although encased in the same type of clear bags as other teas – comes out cranberry-flavored red. There’s no doubt that what’s inside those bags comes out when heat and liquid are applied. Different ingredients producing different color, texture, and flavor. The proof is in its taste.
The truth about character and heat
2020 and this Coronavirus are like hot tea. The heat and stress brings out the flavor and the color of all of us. I’ve been intrigued to watch the colors – and flavors – appear. Whether it’s in person or on social media, I’ve been surprised – and not surprised – at some of the responses of people.
It really is true that the depth – or lack thereof – of our character shows up when times are tense and turbulent. Stress has a way of bringing out what’s stashed inside. Oh dear.
When we don’t get our way, it shows. Character shows when there’s an opportunity to bless others, but we choose not to. When we choose to not get in the fray of battle because we’d rather shed light than heat, it shows.
Make no mistake. It’s not hard to tell the true inside of a person when stress and tension fills the day. What’s inside will come out as the pressures steep out the character strengths or flaws we’ve developed over the years.
In addition, the longer I steep the tea, the stronger the flavor. That’s why I try not to imbed myself with attitudes and sentiments that are wrong, because they are bound to show up later. The more steeped I am in an attitude, the more forceful it becomes when the heat from stress explodes.
I think about that every time I steep tea. It helps me remember what’s most important. It’s a reminder to T H I N K. It’s my Philippians 4:8 test.
Is it True, Honest, Important, Necessary, and Kind? Although I often fail, that’s the kind of Tea I’d like to serve. How about you?