Boiling Over

Every morning my mother prepares herself a ritualistic cup of chai. Can’t start the morning without it. Darjeeling tea, freshly grated ginger, a smattering of whole spices and some milk. Bring to a roiling boil. Turn off heat. Strain and enjoy.


Every morning my mother multi-tasks while her tea is on the stove and every morning her tea boils over and spills onto the stove. It makes a royal mess to clean up. You have to wait until the burner is cool, take the grate off the stove, and scrub a sticky film of chai tea out of every crevice.


But get this: every morning my mother is surprised.


Why? I don’t know. You could set your clock to my mother’s tea boiling over. Every morning. Without fail. And yet every morning she is utterly astonished to see it happen.


“Oh! Oh no!”


And then she’ll rush over, turn off the heat, and blow the tea back into the pot. Drink her tea, wait for the burner to cool, and begin the cleaning process. And there you have it, folks; Einstein’s definition of insanity, hard at work.


I rag on her about this but see, I’m pretty sure I follow the same steps daily– except with things that matter a lot more than spilled tea.


Every day I act like sulking will get me what I want. And it might in a superficial immediate sense, but it never makes me happy. And if I take one cheap victory at the price of a lifetime of unhappiness, well, who am I to call my mother crazy?


Every day I act like anger will somehow magically enrich my marriage. Hmm, nope. I have personally proven that that doesn’t work every single day I’ve tried it.


Every day I act like the world and all the people in it owe me big time, because if not for my convenience, what are we all here for anyway?


Really though. How many times do we have to be taught a single lesson before our heads bend with humility and we say, “I got it. Chai tea, when left on a stove unattended, will boil over”?


Gee. What a mess.



2 thoughts on “Boiling Over

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