If you’ve ever lived through an Indian summer, you know that it’s often hotter than a sizzler doused in hot sauce served in hell’s kitchen. Your head feels like a wet mop that can never be wrung out. You towel off after a shower only to realise it’s a somewhat pointless routine. You have to peel yourself off plastic chairs thanks to the sweat that glues you down to porous surfaces.
Yeah, no points for guessing that summer is so not my favourite time of year.
But if there’s one redeeming factor about summer in India, it’s the mangoes. They make everything better. Scientific fact.
Pyramids of golden deliciousness call out to me from street carts. I happily substitute meals with mangoes. I make sure not an evening goes by where my family is not elbow deep in sweet goodness (unless of course there’s only one mango left in the fruit bowl, in which case mama always calls dibs.) It must be a genetically inherited love affair as my 8-year-old, who was born and raised in the US, proved.
“We should move back to America,” he said between slurp-bites of Alphonso. “After the mango season is over.”
Mangoes, it seems, are summer’s apology to those of us living close to the equator. When the monsoons begin, mangoes bid us adieu, as if to say, “You don’t need our help anymore.”
That made me think of different seasons in our lives – especially the not-so-pleasant ones. The Indian summers of our lives where the blistering heat may wear us down. Seasons when the hours are sluggishly unproductive, but we’re still depleted at the end of the day. Seasons when life is frantic and we’re working up a sweat just trying to keep pace with it all.
This may not be the world’s most conventional piece of wisdom, but here goes: in those seasons, are we enjoying the mangoes?
The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
If we’re being honest, though, we often respond with a, “Really God?! Give thanks? For this?”
But God reminds us that while we don’t have to be thankful for the situation, we do have to give thanks in all circumstances.
We don’t have to pretend we’re thankful for the job loss or the broken arm or the bed bugs. But we can give thanks in all circumstances because God is still on the throne – and He sprinkles our lives with “you-can-get-through-this” moments.
We get to thank Him for the little things that get us through the sticky, wet-mop-hair days. We get to thank Him for coffee and conversations that follow seasons of loneliness. We get to thank Him for Saturday morning snuggles and chocolate chip pancakes after a will-this-week-ever-end? We get to thank Him for a sense of humour that transforms the bothersome into the bearable.
Every bona fide desi knows that to enjoy your mango, you really need to get down and dirty. It means ditching the spoons and knives. It means getting elbow deep in your blessings. We’ve somehow assumed that we need to be timid about life’s sweet surprises, acting like we should be all ascetic and not allow chocolate to mend a broken heart, or a good cry over a book to get us through a funk. But the little things add up. Don’t take my word for it. I have it on good authority from none other than Winnie-the-Pooh who says, “Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
Let’s open our hearts to notice the little blessings. Let’s look for the mangoes and enjoy them in spite of what else is happening this season.
Photo Credit : Flickr