Balancing fragile items, whether delicate tea cups and saucers or relationships, is no small task. There is an inborn social desire to be accepted, to be accommodating, and to be flexible. In their effort to teach us basic etiquette, adults taught us children that “nice is as nice does.” In other words, there must be balance between what we say and what we do.
Just Add Fire
Looking above at the exquisite tea cup and saucer set which once belonged to my great-grandmother, I consider how wet clay becomes a vessel of honor. It takes intense heat, i.e. fire, to produce something that will last throughout generations. To last, every piece must go through the same firing process. Asking wet clay to transform itself into a cup without fire is like asking a Lapsang Souchong not to taste smoky, knowing full well that this tea is fired over wood.
Adversity is the litmus test of any relationship. We never know the strength of a bond until the intense heat is applied. Some bonds become flexible, bend and conform to whatever shape presented. Others reach their tolerance limit and break because they do not fit a mold for which, perhaps, they were never designed. Balance enters our relationships when we recognize that:
> Everyone has an individual response to adversity
> Bending and breaking are two appropriate yet different responses
> Prior to expecting another person to break, check your personal willingness to bend (or vice versa)
> Only what survives adversity is worth filling
Speaking of filling, all this discussion about intense heat has created a thirsty void. Let’s drink tea… Cups up!
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