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Tea bags for tears

Some time ago, years in fact, I posted a question on my Facebook page. The question was, “Song title suggestions?”

A bunch of comments came in, all of which I have written down in my lyrics book and have been working on over time.

It was a colleague and friend of mine, Tharuna, who posted “Tea Bags For Tears”. I loved the idea, but it was one of those lines that literally just lay dormant for a long time. Then children came along and demands of life crept in. Then we moved house, and low and behold in the process of packing and unpacking boxes, I discovered an even older lyric book which had scribbles in it from when I had travelled to Malaysia. The lyrics read:

There’s a realm presiding over us
Which overlooks the ash and dust
The fallen world we find that we are in
For some it’s true and some believe
While others battle to conceive
We’re entertaining angels all the time

In another (older) lyric book, were words I had written down thinking back on a difficult period of time in my life.

The angel sat down next to me, handed me a cup of tea
Trying to console my weary heart
And I never thought my life would be, broken and so weary
This is not what I had planed at the start

Recently, as I’ve read and watched and learned about various people’s stories through the Black Lives Matter season, the overwhelming tidal wave of emotion from humanity that has surrounded the issues and has consumed me, is that people want and need to be heard. We all have this propensity – some of us more than others – to make sure that we are heard. Whether it’s raising our voices (through our Covid19 masks) or on social media or in our actions, the need to be heard and to be recognised and to be understood is the cry of the human heart. We just don’t cope otherwise.

There’s something incredibly calming about tea. Whether it’s the tea itself or just the idea of tea, I don’t actually know. What I do know is that I like pouring a cup of tea, sitting down and having a conversation with someone. Hang, even if there’s no-one, I like sitting down and having a conversation with myself will sipping on some tea.

It’s like the world slows down for a minute or two when there’s a cup of tea involved, and the calmness of drinking tea restores some order to an otherwise chaotic world.

My experience of people from Scotland is that they are the most generous people on earth. Seriously – jokes aside. Scottish people are the most generous people. I have family there, and here under our own roof. They talk thrifty, as if they don’t want to share a thing, but it’s masked in self-deprecating humour and my memories of all the Scots I’ve known is that their actions speak louder than words. And my word, they are generous.

The humour is based around always bargaining for a cheaper deal, not wanting to share, not letting anyone in your space or near your things. My aunt Elsie, who resides near Glasgow, told us a long-standing joke that tells the difference between Scots from Glasgow and those from Edinburgh.

“In Glasgow when you enter a home, they ask whether you’d like a cup of tea. Those from Edinburgh will say ‘you’ll have had your tea already’.”

I remembered that story while mulling over all the noise going on in the world today. Amidst the black and white and everything in between, it was like a quiet whisper to anyone who would listen, saying: be generous.

I’m challenged to be generous with my time. To listen. To be generous with the spare cash or spare stuff I have, and give it away. To be generous with my words and praise in telling people how cool they are.

And like the Glaswegians, to pour a cup of tea, and allow people to calm down over a healthy conversation, and let them be heard.

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