Rushing around seemed stressful, but for Sue, it was her favorite time of the year and she did not let it get to her. She took a moment to survey the gold, amber, orange and red colors that decorated the trees. Yes, God did great work in Autumn. She would have spent more time taking it in but her to-do list for the church Fall Festival was a mile long. It included gathering supplies for games, rounding up volunteers, setting up the church basement and of course, making chili.
In midst of her chaos a loud ring from her land-line phone startled her.
A friendly voice started, “HELLO, I represent the volunteer fire department. . .”
CLICK – she slammed the receiver down.
“I don’t have time. Besides, it’s against the law to solicit.”
She surveyed the list. It was time to start the chili.
The chili contest was a friendly competition and a way to feed lots of people as they meandered among the games and activities.
She got the crock pot to simmer beans.
“MOM! Where are my football cleats?” her son yelled from upstairs, “I can’t find ‘em”
“John, I’m busy, find them yourself!”
No sooner had she added the single most awesome ingredient that was a surefire way to ensure that she would win this year another interruption ensued.
“MOM! Please help! I’m gonna be late for school and I need them for practice.”
Matter-of-factly she torted, “Your fault. I’ve got things to do.”
He stomped out.
With a sigh she began to fry hamber.
The doorbell rang.
The girl at the door seemed to young to be out by herself. Then Sue noticed the car at the end of the driveway.
With a timid smile and soft voice the girl uttereed, “Would you like to order cookies?”
It riled up Sue’s frustrations. “Sorry, kid. I don’t want any cookies!”
As the door slammed, she saw the hurt look on the little girl’s face. She paused then was relieved to hear the car pull away.
The smell of cooking burger and smoke made her race to the kitchen. No harm done, so she added it to the pot.
A ringtone from her cell indicated that a text message from her husband arrived.
‘Honey, I forgot my lunch, please bring to me.’
She quickly responded, ‘NO, too much to do-go out to eat.’ And as a reminder, ‘See you at church Fall Festival.’
The tossed the green chilies into the pot and left it simmering while gathering everything else.
With van loaded she headed for the church, arriving hours before anyone else. By the time the doors opened everything was ready and the crockpots of chili were lined up.
Though the pots were supposed to be anonymously marked, Sue knew her own and she dipped in for a pre-taste.
Her face grimaces and lips puckered. She listed all ingredients in her mind. Suddenly she realized that in all the commotions, she had forgotten the salt, pepper and every other spice.
She grabbed the pot and while rushing to the kitchen she almost bumped into the mother of the little girl that was trying to sell cookies. She spun to go the opposite direction and saw her disappointed son.
“I missed practice and got benched for the next game.”
A vision of cleats in his sister’s room came to her.
Tears welled up and her heart sank as she remembered her actions earlier in the day. She plopped the pot on the counter and grabbed a spice jar out of the cupboard. she cried, prayed and shook that spice into the chili.
She didn’t notice that her husband walked in.
He touched her shoulder and gently asked, “Honey, why are your pouring cinnamon into your chili?”
Her sobbing magnified.
“OH, Mike. I’m sorry. I should have taken your lunch to you, I was rude to a fireman, that poor little girl and now John can’t ever play football.”
He hugged her and listened.
Her heart calmed and as she remembered the Bible verse the Pastor was teaching on last Sunday.
“Let your conversations be always full of grace seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col 4:6)
She smiled and thought, ‘The chili is ruined beyond fixing, but I am not.’ She knew God was teaching her a lesson and she was going to take time to listen.
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