Pumpkin Spice and Being Nice
It's that time of year again. The most wonderful season of all. Pumpkin Spice Season.
You've probably noticed by now that those round and bumpy orange fruits with green twirly stems are everywhere right now, usually paired with a cinnamon stick.
We are dreaming of it, drinking it in our lattes, burning it in our candles. We are baking it up as a side to breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Why are we so obsessed? I mean besides it's savory, spicy, creamy and light-textured flavor combinations that remind us of crisp bonfire nights under the stars with our friends and feels like our favorite comfy sweater.
I decided today what the big deal is. It's not just yummy. It is our distraction. A pretend vacation. An aromatic and delicious dream world we can escape to, even if for a few moments. Why do we need an escape? Well, because fall, for many of us moms, is busy-season.
We are abruptly awoken from our summer shenanigans to a slap in the face of early morning alarm clocks, backpacks spilling over with homework, meals to prep and pack, shuttling our kids around all over creation. Enter: school schedule. Now, don't get me wrong, school hours are glorious. It just takes us some time to get back into our groove.
I had such high hopes for this school year. The week before school started clothes were ironed, socks were sorted (you know how hard it is to sort folded socks for a five-year old and a seven-year old foot without mixing them up?😑). While I was on my mom game I decided to jump-start their little souls as well. We usually read devotions at night, but right before school started I carefully chose a story about kindness. Hopefully this story sticks and they become thoughtful little humans. They have so much to learn being little kids and all.
I chose to read Luke 10:30-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan. You've probably heard it. A man was walking down a road when he was viciously attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest walked by and ignored the man. Then a Levite also walked past without so much as offering a hand to the stranger.
I wanted to get their little minds rolling for how we are to treat others, how we aren't to overlook people, and that we should be mindful of those around us who may need someone to be a friend, or be kind to them. At the end of the story of course, a Samaritan finally comes by and gives him his immediate attention. He takes him to a local infirmary and even pays for his medical bills and his food.
So, kids were reminded to be kind. Check. Sorted Socks. Check. New clothes. Check. Five million dollars worth of school supplies bought and a weeks worth of paperwork signed. Check. We are so ready for this. Bring on school. The first week passed by flawlessly, as planned. Then, today.
I did not hear my alarm go off. Slept right through it. I woke up in a panic 10 minutes before school started. (We live 20 minutes away from the school). I woke the kids rudely screaming at them while also apologizing to them. "HURRY UP YOU'RE GONNA BE LATE FOR SCHOOOOOOL" then, "I'm so sorry, you're gonna be late for school!"
One does not simply wake the children and leisurely stroll out the door in under 30 minutes. Cereal needs poured (because oh, the abuse of sending them to school on an empty stomach!) I normally would have let them eat something to-go in the car, but I just cleaned it out. I'm talking, sweeper attachments were involved. I promised myself it would remain a crumb-free zone for more than 12 hours this time.
Teeth need brushed, hair needs combed, then everyone must line up to take their meds. Seriously, my kitchen looks like a pharmacy every change of seasons.
Finally out the door, I gotta make a quick delivery at work, then head off to take my two oldest kids to school on one side of town. Then I took my youngest to his preschool which was on the opposite end of town. Each drop off was late. I arrived at my meeting feeling frazzled and guilty for the disasterous morning. I also left my phone at home so I felt like I was missing a limb.
After my meeting I decided to make a pit stop into my coffee shop since I STILL HAD ZERO CAFFEINE in my system. I'm not kidding, you guys. I had just walked up to the counter to take a breath and to order my caffeine when my husband TEXTED MY BARISTA, (How did he find me?) "Is my wife there?" Amused, the barista relayed the message to me that in my rush, I had left with his set of car keys and I was needed home ASAP as I was now making him late.
I left my coffee there and rushed home in a panic to continue this fine day which included working at the property all day in 91 degree heat. (It was fine. It was only sweltering, not quite boiling lava) before picking up my kids from school (separate schools, more driving, Yay....) and dropping off my eldest son at keyboard lessons. Once at home it was more leisure time helping kids with homework, making dinner, cleaning up, washing, drying and folding a load of laundry, right in time to start bedtime routine with the littles.
To make the evening more precious, one of my kids found an old VeggieTales cd they beg to listen to on repeat in the car. So now during a part of the evening I finally had to myself, I have this invasive children's song stuck in my head:
I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy. You've no idea what I have to do
Busy, busy, shockingly busy. Much, much too busy for you.
Cause we're busy, busy, frightfully busy
More than a bumblebee, more than an ant.
Busy, busy, horribly busy
We'd love to help but we can't!
I was re-hashing my day this evening, and that goofy song played on loop in my brain and I just kept thinking: I'm so busy! I'm so busy! I'm so busy!
I remembered the story of the good Samaritan I had so meticulously re-told to my kids. The Priest and the Levite from the story, who passed by the wounded man on the street? They weren't bad men. At least the story didn't say they were. Jesus described the attackers as what they were, "robbers and thieves". Why then wouldn't Jesus have called the other men on the road "a bad guy" or "an evil man" who passed by our wounded friend on the road that day? But Jesus didn't describe them at all other than by profession and ethnicity. That's when it hit me. They probably weren't bad guys.
They were probably just....busy.
Yikes. I realized I was going to have to intentionally start looking around when I'm out and about. In this busy season, I've got my fall blinders on. I'm barreling through my days full speed ahead trying to get back into a livable routine. In all of my busy, I surely walk by people everyday who could benefit from my pausing from my hurried routine to lend a moment and some kindness.
We're busy, busy, frightfully busy. More than a bumblebee, more than an ant. Busy, busy, horribly busy. We'd love to help, but we can't! 🎧 🐝
And so... God made pumpkin spice lattes, muffins and candles. Reminders in the change of seasons to slow down, breathe. That tempting aroma a reminder, an excuse to pause, look around, look up from our own hurried journeys, to see others around us and to offer our attention, a helping hand, and kindness.
Who knows where the Samaritan was going that day. But one things for sure. He was late getting there.