Southerners are serious about their sweet tea.
To some, it’s a religion. And as such, each person has their own special way of concocting the perfect pitcher.
Just this afternoon, I was in the kitchen preparing myself a fresh batch of the brew. While I was stirring the hot liquid into a pitcher full of ice cubes, I recalled the moment I discovered that patience is a very important aspect of tea making. It was a realization that hit me square between the eyes.
Patience truly is a virtue.
Patience, you may ask? Patience when making iced tea? Well, yes, there is a test of patience when you are craving a glass of the stuff and the water just…won’t…boil.
Ugh. The wait.
I used to get really anxious when there was no tea in the fridge and I was faced with trying to quickly boil some to satisfy my craving. What would happen, nine times out of ten, is I would hurry the boil by putting the pot on high heat and turning it off once the first little bubbles rolled up from the bottom of the pan to the top of the water. A few moments later, I’d have a glass of tea.
It was nearly always a disappointment.
I learned that in order to have a great glass of iced tea, you must first let the tea bag brew long enough to draw all the goodness out of the leaves. Rushing a boil and not letting the tea steep resulted in a less than desirable result. The tea is always weak, and weak tea is tasteless, even with sugar added. You’d might as well be drinking sugar water for all it’s worth.
Taking the time to brew the perfect tea is a critical step and an even more critical life lesson.
Anytime we want something…really desire a particular outcome…the best way to approach it is to allow it to be. Set it in motion and let the idea/object/project/dream do its thing. When we get in the way and let our impatience take control, our outcome is always less than we want it to be.
Look at your own life and think of a time where you rushed something. Did it turn out the way you hoped it would? What about a time you let the thing you wanted take its time to manifest in your life?
Even something simple as sweet tea needs time to become the best it can be.
So, next time you want to do something, make something, write something, create something, no matter what it is, let it steep. Feel it, watch it, knead it, work it, then give it the space it needs to develop. You might be surprised at how well everything comes together when you let it do its thing.
(P.S. If you are curious about how I make a pitcher of tea, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Fill a pot full of water and toss in a large family size tea bag. Set it on the stove and turn the heat on medium-low. Then just keep an eye on it. I usually let it sit, cook and steep for a few hours. Yes, a few hours. Once it’s cooked down to a half-full pot and it’s dark like molasses, take it off the heat. I fill a pitcher with ice cubes, toss in a quarter cup of sugar (more if you like it truly South-sweet), then pour the hot tea over it all, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the ice. Add water to the pitcher until it is filled nearly to the top. Grab a glass full of ice and pour yourself a tall one. You can thank me later.)
Photo credit: bourbonandboots.com