I’ll put the kettle on…

If you watch much BBC you will hear a line repeated often…”I’ll put the kettle on.” Many times it’s preceded by “fancy a cup of tea?” For those not familiar with this social cue, it translates to “this conversation is going to need some time…time for the water to boil…time for the tea to steep…time for the tea to cool enough to drink and time to actually drink the tea.” It’s an invitation to sit and share what’s on your mind.

For the past 2 years, I have been struggling. Having moved to a new town in a new state and knowing only a couple of very busy people, making new friends has been on my list of things to do. My new town is a fairly old, established town. The house we bought is 120 years old. Most on our street are newer. They are right around 100 or so. The few neighbors we have spoken with have lived here most of their lives and are now much closer to the end than the middle of those lives.

I have been on the lookout for opportunities to connect with like minded people. I love reading and thought the library was a natural place to start. The day I walked in to get a library card, the woman at the desk asked me if I had my state issued driver’s license. I said I didn’t. As she turned her chair away from me to go back to reading her magazine she said “come back when you do.” I guess having the actual deed and title to the home we own 4 blocks from the library and a wallet full of ids wasn’t going to get me a library card.

The next attempt was reaching out to the historic society. After all I have a 120 year old Queen Anne Victorian house. I thought Renaissance Wife would be a natural corporate sponsor for the historic museum in town so I filled out the application and sent in a check. Crickets…. but the check was cashed. On their Facebook Page and website, they listed a book club. “This has to be my on ramp,” I thought. I bought the book. I read the book. I went to the museum the night of the book club. No one was there. Not even a sign on the door saying it had been canceled or moved. Nothing. I posted my experience on the Facebook event…more crickets. And, the book was about manners holding polite society together!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I tried a women’s Bible study group. I went on line, created an account, registered for the group, paid the $13 for the book and was excited. These had to be my people, right?

Not so much. When I arrived there were 5 women all focused on their cell phones. One looked up and asked me if I was new. When I replied I was, she told me to sign the sheet on the clipboard because she sends out an email with information each week. Ok. Signed in and sat down. Over the next 10 minutes or so 12 more women came in and sat down in the circle of chairs. Not one said hello to me. When the women who sends out the emails started the study, no one offered to share their book. After an hour and a half, she closed in prayer. I stood up, put on my coat, picked up my purse and made my way to the door passing 4 women on the way. Not one said a word to me. Nothing….

A week later, having heard nothing from the email lady, I emailed the church and asked for a refund for my registration. They processed it very quickly with no questions asked.

All this to say, I am confused about how to connect with people in this day and age. I admit freely that I have some old fashioned ideas when it comes to hospitality. I believe in making people feel welcome when they enter my environment, in being where I say I’m going to be and that a women’s Bible study should be the most gracious place for a new person to find themselves. I believe in putting the kettle on. I can’t believe hospitality is dead. It can’t be.

While I have been writing, I have had a cup of Daily Beauty Blueberry Lavender tea. You see, even if we are not in the same room, when I write I feel like we are having a chat and you are so kindly listening to my heart. Having a cup of tea with you is a very deliberate action. My tea kettle in on the first floor of our home with my office on the third floor. I waited for the kettle to boil, brought the mug up two flights of stairs, and logged in to talk to you about my heart. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to “listen”.

Now, it’s your turn to talk. I’ll put the kettle on…how do you take your tea?

9 thoughts on “I’ll put the kettle on…”

  1. It hurts my heart to hear this has been your experience. If we were close we could share that tea and bake and have long conversation. I love you friend and I hope you find your people!

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  2. Lana, my heart hurt to read this…I fought tears as I thought of what you have experienced, or maybe I should say in what you haven’t experienced in your new community. And it saddens me too, because these women are the ones losing out as well, losing out getting to know an amazing woman.
    I would hate to think that the art of hospitality is dead…but I do think it gets easily lost in the hurry hurry of modern life.
    I also think gracing others with hospitality requires a slower pace. And it’s a choice we’re faced with daily. Is it old fashioned to desire hospitality, I don’t think so. Sadly though, many times we choose to stay hurried and therefore forfeit the opportunity to either give or receive hospitality.
    Perhaps drinking tea is a lost art only if we are not paying attention to its joys….
    Maybe because I am an innkeeper in a traditional Bed & Breakfast where I offer a slower pace of life…but I see women come back to the B&B at the end of a busy work day, sigh, kick off their shoes, enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and relax. Friends and colleagues who come together sit in the parlor for hours, sharing tea (in a tea cup) and sharing life. Almost all of them tell me they don’t want to go home. You can see the stress, exhaustion and busyness of life fall off their shoulders.
    They enjoy the tea, the friendship and the slower pace….this is community.
    I take my tea black, English Breakfast please.

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    • You are a true example of gracious hospitality. I know those who linger in your presence are restored and blessed. I will always thank God for your friendship when I pause over English Breakfast.

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  3. You are worthy of friendship and loyalty. I’m so sorry it’s been so challenging to find friends. Living my adult life as a military wife, I get it. It’s no small thing to find your tribe. ❤️

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    • My online and “never often enough in person” tribes are a true blessing but it is not a substitute to living life up close and personal with people who take the time to look in your eyes when they ask how you’re doing.

      Do you still drink Bullet Coffee?

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  4. Lana,
    Thank you for sharing your tea with us. I am so surprised and saddened by your current experiences. Having moved about the same time my tea time would share how friendly and connected people are here. I have never had very close female friends other than family. (Although I have always enjoyed spending time with you!). I guess I am saying my expectations are such that joining groups would not mean much. The most worthwhile relationships have been unintentional. Tea time never has an agenda. Thanks for the reminder!

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