‘Tis the season, it seems. You know, the Back-to-School-Halloween-Christmas season? I know it’s true that Christmas is right around the corner because Costco told me so.
Strolling through the aisles pushing my cart full of dog food and cheerios just last weekend, I noticed a crowd milling towards the rear of the store. Never one to miss a good deal, or at least not one to miss drooling over a good deal, I wrangled my shopping cart in the direction of the massive amoeba of people. I could see “Stuff” disappearing off the shelves as the amoeba moved past it. Lego sets, cheese and wine gift packs, lights, ornaments, and wrapping paper were jumping through the air into carts seemingly of their own accord. If we are truly in the midst of the second half of a double-dip recession, no one has told these Costco shoppers.
At the edge of the near-melee I stopped to admire a convertible crystal punch bowl/salad bowl/covered cake plate/dip and chip set. (I am not kidding.) The lady next to me was gushing over what an amazing piece this crystal creation really was. I nodded, yes; it certainly is a wonderful idea and such a space-saver too. She put it in her cart, exclaiming it would be just the thing for her New Year’s Eve party. That’s when it hit me.
I’m not ready. I mean, I’m ready for back to school; we are actually having a great year so far. Frankly, the harvest season is something I enjoy celebrating right now…even though The Retail World does not deem it necessary. (Why is that, do you think? Could it have to do with profitability at all?) Life zips along at a dizzying speed as it is, and if I am not careful the tyranny of calendar commitments and a sense of time warped by retail marketing can mess with my priorities. My family’s life doesn’t have to run on the calendar set by the local mall…or the school system…or the TV guide.
Just because the world is going Christmas shopping at Costco, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this beautiful fall day, bake some pumpkin muffins, and continue prayerfully charting out the school year. I do not need to inventory the holiday decorations. I need to be here, with my son, thinking about The Jungle and what, if anything, our society has gained from 100 years of hyper-industrialization that has made us better people. I need to be here – really be here, now.
Slow down, take a deep breath, I must remind myself several times a day. Be truly present in your own life. Be truly present in every conversation, in every task, in every moment.
Be still and know that I am God.