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How a Tea Set Led to Healing

How a little gold-rimmed tea set brought about self-compassion and healing after an abusive relationship.

How the gift of a tea set brought healing.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Today’s guest blogger is writer Patricia Small, who has a story in the upcoming issue of Mysterious Ways magazine. I must say that it’s so inspiring working with Patricia–she’s one of those people who very clearly sees God working in her life, in the big and small things.

Recently, Patricia shared with me the story of how she found healing through a miniature tea set, of all things. And I just had to share it with you.

Here’s Patricia’s story…

You don’t see them around much anymore–the miniature tea sets that were popular when I was a child. Looking back, I know why I liked them so much. They evoked sweet memories of my aunt Myrtle, who gave my sister, Lynne, and me our own brass set when we were little. I especially loved blue willow-patterned sets. When I was little, Lynne had explained to me the romantic legend behind the design. I’d been enchanted ever since.

So it’s no wonder I fell in love with a tiny gold-trimmed, blue willow set one bright Sunday afternoon at a flea market, nearly 30 years ago. My boyfriend and I had stopped at the market unexpectedly and I didn’t have any cash on me.

I showed my boyfriend the set and asked if I could borrow $10 from him to buy it. To my surprise, an irritated, huffy attitude came over him. He bought the set for me. When we got back in the car, he handed the bag to me and said, “Here…and you need to grow up.” I was stunned. This was the first time he had ever verbally slapped me. But unfortunately not the last.

The sting of that incident never left me and spoiled any enjoyment the little tea set would have given me. After I escaped that relationship, one of my friends saw the blue willow set in my home and loved it. She was ecstatic when I told her she could have it. I was relieved to have it out of my sight. It was a reminder of the verbal and emotional abuse I had endured.

I have a business cleaning houses and one of my customers happened to have a collection of miniature tea sets, including a blue willow one. One day, she told me she was planning on passing down some of her pieces to her loved ones. I thought of her blue willow set and wondered how I would feel if she offered it to me.

Read More: An Unexpected Opportunity to Forgive

Part of me started to want one again. But I noticed that whenever I dusted around my customer’s set, a split second of pain would pass through me. I don’t believe what I felt was from a lack of forgiveness for my boyfriend, but perhaps from a lack of forgiveness for myself–for not walking away from the abuse in the beginning.

A few days after my conversation with my customer, Lynne called. “I have something for you,” she said.

“What?” I said, hesitant. My sister and I have very different tastes.

“I was cleaning out my hutch today and I came across a blue willow tea set. I remember how much you used to like that design. Something inside of me said, ‘That’s for Trishy,’” Lynne said, using one of her many nicknames for me.

“Does it have gold trim?” I asked.

“Yes,” Lynne said.

“I used to have a set like that,” I said. I explained about the flea market, a story I’d never shared with her before. My sister was outraged at what had happened to her little sister. I felt her love and the love of the One, who I believe whispered in her ear, “That’s for Trishy.”

Something inside of me healed. I knew I would cherish the little tea set.

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