Have you gone through a grocery store check-out line and dropped a piece of fruit while placing it on the counter
to have the clerk say, “Oh, wait! We’ll get you another one?”
Or maybe, the bag of rice or birdseed tears on the counter’s edge
and the girl will want to replace it with a new one.
I usually have to i.n.s.i.s.t that the clerk put the goods in my bag.
I always think about how FAR those wares have traveled.
The fruit on the tree … that took an entire season to grow
then had to be picked and cleaned and shipped.
No. If it goes “back” into the store, it will be tossed
simply because it was dropped and has a gash or a bruise.
No. I will take that fruit home with me. I’m not going to waste it
when I am the one responsible for the injury.
A box of cookies or bag of pasta is no different.
There is no need for it to be thrown out or returned to some warehouse
states away … because it has a small, superficial hole snagged in it.
I am shocked by the waste and the lack of acknowledgement and appreciation
for the energy that goes into growth, production and presentation of items in a store …
and how we think we have to have blemish-free, whole and perfect …. every.thing.
Not so long ago, I bought a handful of pears
that were close to being perfectly ripe.
They were put into the fruit and vegetable drawer in the bottom of the refrigerator
to stay safe and chilled.
Life was busy and we didn’t remember to reach for fruit right away
and they quickly ripened further.
When I pulled one out just a few days later,
they l.o.o.k.e.d too.far.gone.
They appeared wasted.
They seemed useless.
Each pear was bruised. Some had spots that were dented and weeping. They were discolored and dimpled.
I knew if I handed one of these pears to my youngest, she would frown.
I thought about years past when there weren’t multiple markets within several miles and fruit shipped from all corners of the earth. I thought about the times when people only had access to the fruits that grew on their own property and vegetables that were harvested from their own soil. I thought about how cherished these pears would have been to Laura Engalls or even Olivia Walton.
And, ya know, the pear that I ventured to peer inside
was perfectly ripe … not too soft or firm.
It was deliciously sweet without being grainy.
It was bruised and tattered on the outside
but succulent and worthy on the inside.
These pears made me think of people that we dismiss because they don’t look like they have value or worth. Bruises and dimples and weeping cause our eyes to look past them rather than peer inside them. We offer them no value in our eyes. We see them as without worth. Yet … the journey they have traveled from the corners of the earth … more than likely … has created within them a story that has significance and sweetness … if we will just take the time to look within.
This media-driven, opinion-saturated, advertising-oriented culture that we live in has so well-trained our eyes to look past the less-than-perfect
in search of the flawless
that we skip right over the delicious, tender and succulent.
It takes an intentional effort to embrace the less than perfect.
It takes persistence to convince the clerk to scan the need-to-be-mended item at the check out.
But, I am determined to see past the flaws, the bruises, the wounds
and find the worthy.
Because life is just too rich and tasty to be lived superficially.