Mysterious Ways: My Cup of Tea

Discover how a tea kettle reinforced this woman's faith.

Posted in , Jan 21, 2014

steam rising from a boiling tea kettle

A wisp of steam rose from the tea kettle on our electric stove. Our old-fashioned kettle doesn’t whistle, so I have to watch for that white, puffy jet that tells me the water’s ready to pour. It was probably time for a new kettle, but this was one thing from our old home that I had trouble getting rid of.

“Tea’s almost ready,” I shouted to my husband, Ed, in the living room.

“Good!” Ed said. “We need it to stay awake at our friends' party tonight.”

Ed was right—I could use a pick-me-up. But not just for tonight. After over 25 years in our large family home in Maryland, Ed, a World War II veteran, and I had relocated to a small apartment in an Air Force officers’ retirement community in Virginia.

I missed the place where we’d raised our three sons. I still didn’t feel at ease here. I could bring the tea kettle with me, but not that sense of safety and security you feel when you’re truly at home.

Steam billowed from the kettle spout. Just as I began to pour, the phone rang. Our youngest son and our grandson calling. Then two more calls came in—our middle child, and finally our oldest son and his family.

Before I knew it, we were late for the party. I hung up, hastily poured our tea, and we sipped it quickly before heading out the door.

That tea kept us going all night. We danced to Big Band-era music with our friends, just like we were kids again! It wasn’t till after 1 a.m. that we made it back to our apartment.

Did we leave a light on in the kitchen? A faint red glow came from the stove area. The burner! I’d put the kettle back on it without realizing the stove was still on! I ran and turned the knob to OFF.

“Don’t worry, honey,” Ed said. “It looks like everything is fine.”

It wasn’t fine, though. I’d endangered everyone in the building. What if the kettle burned through, caused a fire?

Wait a minute… why hadn’t it?

Ed lifted the lid of the kettle. A thin layer of water simmered at the bottom. It still hadn’t boiled off, even after all these hours.

As an experiment, Ed refilled the kettle and set the burner on HIGH again. The water bubbled, boiled, and evaporated down to the final wisp of steam—within minutes.

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