Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Fresh Fruit

A single woman has a wild and woolly holiday in Mexico, throwing caution to the winds, but while she’s there, she remembers her friend in Toronto who loves making parties for her grandchildren, so she returns with a package of multi-coloured paper cutouts on a string, perfect for backyard decoration

A mentally disabled man approaches a friend enthusiastically on Easter Sunday. He loves hugging but just before contact he remembers that not everyone always wants his hugs. He catches himself, puts down his arms and reaches out for a handshake instead. “Happy Easter!” they both say warmly. 

An older woman retreats to a church washroom to hide her teary eyes. A twelve-year-old girl is there. They are acquaintances. The woman wipes her eyes and smiles, asking, “What do you do to try to stop crying?” 
The young one thinks, and then says, 
“I don’t know - I just cry.”  
“But what about everybody noticing you’ve been crying?” 
“Oh, I splash water on my face and then dry it off.”
“Great idea – I forgot about that trick!”
The shaken woman bends over a small sink and feels cold water washing away evidence of her vulnerability. She is grateful for the child’s advice. 

A senior financial executive, middle-aged, male, and furiously busy, is annoyed when he hears that someone questioned his recent decision. He fires off an email of stern disapproval. The recipient, a stranger, expresses shock and hurt at his criticism, asking to meet in person. He agrees. He is defensive, but listens long and hard. He softens, and offers new understanding and appreciation. The meeting ends with a sincere and hopeful prayer. 

She'd had a stressful day. Firstly, there had been a personal conflict on FaceBook and she felt worried about her far-away relative. They'd had to agree by email to let the issue lie and reaffirm their friendship. Secondly, the phone rang and she had to go immediately to sit beside a dying man who would soon be leaving behind six young children. She sat with eyes closed and quietly sang the 23rd psalm. At the same time, she felt anxious for resolution to a painful situation at her church.
When she lies, exhausted, on the couch at the end of the day, her husband goes out on errands and brings home her favourite snack.

A 2nd Grader hands his grandparents a folded piece of lined notebook paper. Thirteen words take up five lines of carefully written “cursive” script. It is a thank you note for Easter cupcakes and sticker books. How long did the child labour over these huge, perfectly spaced letters?

Slowly, so slowly they drive along the busy street. Stuck behind them in the same lane, you follow, hoping to get through the intersection before the green light turns yellow. Their rear right-turn signal begins to flash. They hesitate at the corner, and then stop, waiting for a pedestrian who might to be about to step off the far curb and may eventually get to the place where he could cross paths with their car. You keep your foot on the brake, halted. The traffic light in front of you turns red as they slowly, slowly make their turn. You don’t honk your horn.

Cherry blossoms grow by the thousands on dozens of gnarly old trees, their branches and trunks, twisted limbs with rough grey skin, spreading delicate creamy-pink flowers across a cloudless azure sky. Bright lime-green willow leaves, freshly sprung, sweep low in the wind over a pond's grey water. Passers-by look and linger.

“The acts of the lower nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like… 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”                                    (Chapter 5, Galatians, the Bible)

How luscious is the fresh fruit 
of Christ’s Spirit 
in this rancid world. 

P.S. for nitpicking bible-thumpers only. Where is my example of the remaining name for the fruit of the Spirit, “Gentleness”? Well, “gentleness” describes the way I’m treating myself for not coming up with a ninth true story before I post this.