Slaying the academicese about a pink slip this side of forty

FA = −FB

FA = −FB.

A good friend often recites to his classes his memory of having tea for the first time in a traditional Japanese tea house – a chachitsu (茶室) in Japanese meaning a space for tea or tea room. As I drank my coffee alone this morning, I thought on the art of hospitality in the form of the tea ceremony.

Japanese tea ceremonies are held to celebrate the simple pleasures of life – tea, relationship with another, tranquility, and the art of hospitality. In order to receive the hospitality of the host, a guest of a tea house must enter through a small door called the crawl door. In order to enter and receive the hospitality of a host, a guest must rid himself of all earthly possessions in order to fit through the door – warriors must remove armor and weapons, royalty must remove ornate hats and garments, and all must remove their shoes. In order to receive, the guest must be able to do so with an empty pallet. Bringing preconceived notions of the status of the guest into the tea room would not allow the guest to receive the hospitality of the host – the guest would have no where to place the hospitality if her hands were already full with who she believed she was or was not.  The guest, once inside the tea room by placing himself on all fours to enter, is greeted with a simple message on the wall in the form of a scroll. Outside and inside have great symbolic meaning during the tea ceremony.

As I read the news today, reflected on my situation, and took a look around, I was reminded of this need to receive and serve. Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – tit for tat. As my post yesterday stated, I am moving away from the stupidity and negativity of the choices I have made concerning my situation of the loss of my job. I am taking off my armor, putting aside my weapons, and taking off who I think I am, so that I may receive. But not to receive to get, but rather, to receive to take part in the art of hospitality which supernaturally supersedes Newton’s laws to usher in grace – a force far more powerful than a reaction.

May we all serve, receive, and offer grace in place of reacting equally in opposition to a force outside of us.

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