Ripe Fruit

By Lindsey Rowe

I stepped onto our deck and took a deep breath. The air smelled sweet, like the lilacs blooming on the side fence, and at the same time woody, like the pine bark that had spent the day basking in the sun. I noticed with delight that the fruit on our cherry tree had ripened, seemingly overnight. Part of my delight was in knowing how my 10 year old would dance for joy if she could see it. But she’s on vacation at grandmas house, so I somehow get to take on double delight – from both my perspective and hers.

What beauty is in the birds swooping down to snag a berry to take back to the nest. How refreshing it is to taste the juice of the ripe fruit in my mouth, even to feel it dribble down my fingers as I pick it but accidentally squeeze too hard. To smell it, to taste it, to hold it, to see it, to hear creation around me enjoy this ripe fruit with me — all of that is what brings the delight on in full force.

I experienced this precious moment wholeheartedly, while recognizing that there is a process that fruit must go through to ripen. It takes time – and patience – on my part. It takes resilience, nurturance, health on the part of the tree. I know if I try to pick the fruit too soon, it’ll be bitter. I know if I don’t care for the tree properly, it can’t produce the fruit I delight in. I must be patient, work hand in hand with time (and not resist it!). I cannot force the tree to ripen the fruit on demand. I cannot beg, plead, or command it. I can only bear witness to its journey, delight in it in each season.

Isn’t that such a parallel to relationships? The more I delight in each relationship in each season (even the death of fall and stillness of winter!), the more that relationship is fully able to bear the fruit its intended to bear… I cannot plead, beg, command that relationship. I must settle into it, nurture it and bear witness to its growth… patiently waiting for the fruit of that relationship to ripen. Only then will I find true delight in the one I share that relationship with, enjoying him or her as God intended.