Author Jane Austen has a special place in my heart. Her words offered me an escape from my modern-day life by giving breath to a new kind of life. This “life” had comedic twists and turns, balls, witty banter, tea parties, strong female protagonists, and so much more. Obviously, I was enthralled. But who wouldn’t be? “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery” she once wrote.
It’s no wonder I blushed with delight at the thought of first grade joining the tenth grade tea party. A tea party to celebrate their completion of A Tale of Two Cities and their beginning of Pride and Prejudice, a personal favorite!
My own delight aside, the first graders were even more excited. What a special thing to watch them engaged with the older students. Their faces were alive with the attention and the students’ willingness to take the time to simply know them better.
During their time together, the students, young and ‘old’, talked, laughed, sipped tea, ate scones, and engaged in general merriment. Better than any scene from Downton Abbey, afternoon tea was once a daily occurrence and not just for the upper class, but for the working class as well. The idea of pausing in the middle of one’s day to sip tea, eat cake, and talk, can seem foreign for those of us who are always on the go. Yet, that pause not only provided a welcome break in the day but an opportunity for connection. I’m not advocating for afternoon tea every day (well…maybe) but certainly for the intentional act of pausing.
Austen wrote in her novel, Mansfield Park, “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” Busy as they may be, our days do not need to be full of “nothings.” We can choose for them to be rich in peace, love, and joy. The kind that comes from an intentional pause for connection. The tenth graders gave our day ‘a spot of joy’ with our tea, sending us home with full hearts and happy faces.