Stewing in my juices
I have a confession to make. I am a Mormon mudblood. My mother is fourth-generation Mormon; my father has not yet joined the fold (and, for that matter, may not in this life). So, I grew up with coffee and tea. I drank a sip here or there (iced tea is a fixture in the South), but generally abstained. My experimentation with all such ended as I entered adolescence.
I have never really been a hard-core Word of Wisdom guy. I have never smoked, drank any of the proscribed beverages, or stuck things into myself. However, I love Coke (classic), hate Pepsi, and swill copious amounts of hot chocolate whenever the temperature drops below 50. My Word of Wisdom great-heartedness, however, never extended to herbal teas. I was certain that they were some sort of "gateway beverage" into the hard stuff.
Now, I admit it's irrational, but it came from my festering persecution complex. Occasionally, I would be invited to parties with my friends were the only beverage served was iced tea. Sometimes people seemed to be trying to slip me iced tea, as if to spare me from the hell my mother was putting me through. Once I really realized that I wasn't supposed to drink iced tea, I got angrier about the injustice of it all. "All I want is a cold beverage on a hot Florida day, why must you tempt me with tea?!?"
So, I fought against tea or anything like unto it. This quickly extended itself to all herbal teas. It said tea right on the box after all. Celestial Seasonings was anything but.
Then I went on a mission to the rather tea-intensive country of Russia, where I was told that I would drink herbal teas by my mission president. In part, this is because the water in Russia is universally horrible and not to be trusted until it has been boiled. In part it is because tea is such a part of the culture that a visit for tea lasts hours and involves several courses. I wasn't given an option regarding this; I was to drink (herbal) tea or die trying.
So, I did. But initially, I only drank peppermint tea, because that was the only kind I could imagine stomaching. All the members and all of our investigators thought that I was sick for the first 4 or 5 months of my mission, because the only time they drank mint tea was when they had a cold. I was resentful of the tea, of the amounts I had to drink, and of the frequency with which I went to the bathroom.
And then, I let it all go. I became a kind of tea junkie. I stopped putting sugar and jam in the tea and drank it straight. I found the best herbal tea of all (rosehip, made fresh). I came to love the variety of herbal teas (people kept thinking we were sick all the time though). I don't think that there was a particular moment when this happened. I just woke up one day and went with it. If it wasn't an instance of grace, I don't know what is.