Upside Down Teacups

china“I was once told that certain spiritual masters in Tibet used to set
their teacups upside down before they went to bed each night as a
reminder that all life was impermanent. And then, when they awoke each
morning, they turned their teacups right side up again with the happy
thought, ‘I’m still here!’ This simple gesture was a wonderful reminder to celebrate every moment of the day.“–Susan Jeffers in Embracing Uncertainty

This quote, posted on my friend Bettie’s Facebook wall this past week, appealed to me. The idea of starting each day by turning an upside down teacup right side up, symbolic of embracing the day and all that it brings, was a picture I wanted to embrace.

Just me and the Monks and our upside down turned right side up teacups.

But then the 5:30 alarm rang on a Monday morning. The 5:30 alarm went off and the teacup just wanted to stay in bed, curled up, safe from the potential assaults of the day. The 5:30 alarm went off and there was no thought of turning it right side up – there was just the thought of somehow protecting it so it didn’t break.

And that’s the deal isn’t it? In our human frailty what we embrace on Sunday as Truth feels a far away dream replaced by life in all its complexity.

Monday morning life.

Deep in my soul I know that the God of the Sundays is also the God of the Mondays, the Tuesdays and on through the week. The God of the week-end is the God of the week-day. The God beside me in joy is the same God who upholds me in crisis.

It’s me who is different.

And that’s why I need reminders and help. So that I can reach out and turn the teacup right side up, confident that He who holds the universe, holds my frail and sometimes breakable as a china teacup faith in His hands.

The upside down teacup might not work for me. But the God of the Mondays surely will.

How about you? Do you struggle to translate your Sunday faith to your Monday reality?

10 thoughts on “Upside Down Teacups

  1. Interesting thought for a Tuesday morning – and I prefer to start my day (any day) with a cup of Java/coffee. I also keep all my mugs (china and glass) upside down in the cupboard – nothing falls (or collects) into them. Some of my china mugs are seldom used – and the last thing I want to see floating in my coffee/tea is lint or dust particles when I finally decide to use those particular mugs.

    Coffee helps clear out the cobwebs in the morning…tea just makes my brain feel very undecided about getting up and getting going! :-)


    1. This is funny! I’m a coffee person in the morning, tea in the afternoon. When I want to be soothed, I pick tea – when I want motivation I go with coffee. And did you learn the turn the teacups over thing overseas? Because that’s all we used to do. Otherwise you never knew what might go inside!


      1. In answer to your question – “Yes”. I did learn that if an object could hold just 1 drop of water, it could also accommodate the germs/defecations left by roaches. What is weird (in a fun sort of way) is…until you said it in your comment, I didn’t really think about the “whys” of doing that. It just seemed (still seems) *right*. Here in the “south” we often have problems with *cupboard moths* – and again, any open container is a great breeding location for the wee, little creepy moths.


  2. And a tea cup turned upright is a great vessel for tea! Hot and warm and welcoming and reassuring…. And the British can attest that everything, even Mondays, looks better with tea!


  3. Wow, what a right-on post for my day today! I struggled the same way this morning. I was barely awake, inbox full of overseas requests and problems and students wanting my attention (they’d been awake for several hours, you know, and were anxious to hear from me). And then a computer problem. And I have to prepare for and teach three classes today. And the list went on. I felt like crawling right back into bed! But I remembered once simple prayer: “God, help me to live and speak nothing besides LIFE today.” Just that. Nothing more complicated. Just be a beacon of light, speaking LIFE into darkness. :)


    1. Jessica – I read this Monday evening, but re-read now and want to thank you. Speak Life, Speak truth. I had a similar Monday, and now here I am Wednesday sort of wanting to crawl back into the teacup so I really appreciate the exhortation here! Thank you.


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