Every morning I make myself a cup of tea. Usually, it's chai or Irish breakfast. I boil the water, I put the tea in the infuser and place it in the mug. As the water is heating, I put some milk in another container along with a little sugar. Once the tea is steeping, I froth the milk. When the tea is ready, I remove the infuser and pour the frothed milk and sugar into the tea. Then it's ready to enjoy.
I try to do nothing else as I prepare my tea. It's a ritual that deserves all my attention. My morning tea warms me and wakes me. It reminds me of my mother. Since my husband makes sure that I always have tea from the little speciality grocery store nearby, it's a ritual of love. I want to have those few minutes every morning of memory, of attention to detail, of love.
We live in a world of multi-tasking. We've got our cell phones out as we make dinner. Our tv is on as we catch up on email. We fold laundry and talk to a friend. The truly bold are putting on makeup as they drive to work. With the exception of the last example, there's nothing really wrong with multi-tasking, but here's the thing: we are bad at it. Our brains aren't made for doing a bunch of things at once. Oh, we can do it, but we do it badly. We are never truly present for any one thing; we just do a bunch of things adequately.
I don't want adequate. It clutters up my brain. It causes me to forget things. When I make my tea, I don't remember that my husband buys my tea or that the tea connects me to my mom. And I really want to have those things foremost in my mind.
"The devil," the saying goes, "is in the details." But that is not right. It's God who
is the details. The intricacy of dragonfly's wing, the gloriousness of the human body, the complex system that comes alive under the eye of the microscope, the dance of human relationships: all bear the elaborate designs of the Designer. If we want to know Him, we must pay attention to His work. And we can only do that by being mindful of one thing, one action, one detail at a time.
Padre Pio said, "When you waste time, you disdain God's gift - the present - which He, in His infinite goodness, relinquishes to your love and to your generosity." I cannot say that I do not waste time, but that moment every morning, as I make my tea, is a feeble attempt to do this and to make it a part of my life, all day, every day. Be present, for God is here.