Monday, 5 November 2018

When Your Little Holes Clog Up by Jane Clamp

Before: What's wrong with that?
It came as quite a shock to me when I discovered that tea-bags contained plastic. (I knew they didn’t break down in the compost, but hadn’t asked myself why.) My only possible response was to go back to loose tea – the concept of giving up the beverage was a non-starter; it literally fuels my days. So, I bought myself a couple of stainless steel dunk-in-your-mug pots and off I went.

Not even in the days of using a teapot had I been a “clean as you go” kind of girl. Since it only ever held tea, it didn’t need a thorough hygienic routine, and I adopted the same position with the little stainless-steel things. Their shiny mirrored finish very quickly tarnished under the layers of tea, my husband muttering darkly about ‘what was it doing to your insides?’; but still they didn’t warrant washing. Or so I thought.

After: Ok, fair point, well presented.
 My mugs of tea had started being a little on the thin side. Perhaps I was being heavy-handed with the milk? Too hasty in the steeping time? I decided that maybe the pots could do with a clean after all and let them soak in some Vanish. Reader, it was a revelation! I had entirely forgotten how gloriously radiant they’d looked before I got my hands on them and, much more to the point, had failed to remember that the base hadn't always been solid but perforated.

As ever, I felt the nudge of God. ‘You know your writing has felt hard work lately? It’s because your little holes are clogged up.’ (I think he was quoting from the Apocrypha) It was so obvious. How can I expect to be a channel for God’s truth when there’s a blockage somewhere? How can I stay fresh and flow in the anointing if I haven’t taken care of the basics?

We all get tired, taking on too much or having stuff inflicted on us. Our minds get muddled in the spin of the everyday, we snack on rubbish, we don’t rest. And what of the deeper things like unforgiven sin, bitterness or a poor attitude? Just as I can’t expect a decent mug of tea from my shamefully tarnished pot, I can’t produce life-giving script from a weary mind/soul/body.

We’ll all have our different versions of ‘Vanish.’ Whether we soak in the bath, or the Word, or worship or in the easy company of friends, we will come up all the better for it. Restored, ready to be filled again and used again. And again and again. 

Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a mother's journey through miscarriage (SPCK)
She is Groups' Coordinator for ACW and the leader of Brecks, Fens and Pens in West Norfolk.


  1. That's a great analogy! And, teabags have plastic in them? I didn't know that either. This is a bad thing. Arrgh. Need to think about this!

    1. Not all tea bags. Try searching. One article I found was this

    2. Loose tea is 50p cheaper than the bags I normally buy. Not that this post was supposed to be about thrift...

  2. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you so much.

  3. Always interesting Jane - especially as I get through about 400 tea bags a month - makes you think what the plastic contact of those TB could equate too, perhaps a 2ltr plastic bottle or two!! Could I convert to loose tea ? And how open and untarnished are my channels - now there's a thought to brew on.

  4. Lovely, imaginative and thought provoking! Thank you, Jane :)