Monday, April 17, 2017

Hidden in the Cherries~

I've never thought about cherries and death 
in the same thought before. 
Really, do you suppose anyone has? 

And yet, one day, 
as I was picking cherries from our cherry tree, 
these two things - cherries and death - 
were tumbling over and over in my mind and blending together.


Trying to intermingle them both in the same thought
might seem like quite a stretch.
But honestly,
in this place of grieving,
trying to make sense in my mind
of what often times seems senseless to my heart,
is truly the greatest stretch of all.
I hadn't planned to pick the cherries.

What started out as me simply grabbing the hose
so I could give the turtles some water,
led me to the side of the house and the cherry tree.

Reaching down to grab the nozzle of the hose,
 I found myself looking up from under a canopy of green leaves,
dotted with cherries.
IMG_7044
Not ripe cherries.
Not quite ready to pick cherries.
And yet, cherries red enough to be attracting birds
who were willing to take a test bite
to see if these cherries were "done".
"Crazy birds.
Only a peck on this one
and a little bite on that one.
Just enough to ruin the entire cherry!
These aren't ready to be picked yet.
They could stay on the tree a little bit longer,
but in order to save them from the birds,
I think we should go ahead and pick them now."
My husband had spoken these words
to me last year.
And, the year before that.
And the year before that.

Standing here now,
in my heart,
I could hear him speaking them again as plain as yesterday.
So, I pulled the hose around to the back of the house,
filled up the water dish for the turtles,
and then headed back to the tree.
And, that's when it hit me:
This out of the blue notion of cherries and death
somehow fitting together,
somehow helping me take the broken pieces of my heart
and fit them back together in a way that made sense.
As I stood on tiptoes,
grabbing hold of one the highest branches
and pulling it down to me,
I felt my spirit reaching up
as far as it could stretch
trying to grasp a precious spiritual truth.

As I  began to pluck each untouched, unmarred cherry
still clinging to the branch,
my memory was pricked by a scripture
I had pondered over 22 years ago
when my husband's sister passed away of cancer
at the young age of 46.
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. ~Isaiah 57:1
As this long-forgotten scripture resurfaced in my heart,
I heard the words my sweetheart had spoken year after year.
"Crazy birds.
Only a peck on this one and a little bite on that one.
Just enough to ruin the entire cherry!
These aren't ready to be picked yet.
They could stay on the tree a little bit longer,
but in order to save them from the birds,
I think we should go ahead and pick them now."
And, I thought about my man.
61.
Not young, but certainly not old.
In my humble human opinion,
not quite yet ready to be picked.
If it had been up to me,
I would have loved for my handsome honey
to stay on this earth quite a bit longer.
Could it be -
the words of Isaiah -
words that might possibly have applied to his sister,
quite possibly applied to him, as well?
Could it be,
God,
in His mercy and tender kindness
was protecting my love from the evil yet to come?
As I bent branches low,
and plucked one unripe cherry after another,
I couldn't stop wiping one tear after another.

And, I tried to understand the timing of harvest ---
taking now to prevent what might happen then.
Taking too soon before it becomes too late.
And, while it might be a stretch -
a huge stretch indeed,
to mingle cherries and death in a spiritual way,
this new revelation brought peace to my heart.
It eased the heartache of missing my man just a bit.

It opened the eyes of my heart
to see a sliver of blessing
peeking out between the dark clouds of sorrow and grief.

It caused me to look deeper,
to understand greater,
to appreciate stronger the heart of our God.
"He died way too soon."
"His life ended way before it should have."
"He was taken too early."
Written in cards of sympathy,
spoken to me at his service,
shared with me even still,
these words always accompany news of his passing.

And until then,
until I stood beneath our cherry tree,
plucking cherries that weren't quite ripe,
these words hurt.
But now,
I saw them from a different angle.
I saw them as a reminder of the goodness of our Heavenly Father.
I saw them as proof of His tender love for His children.
I saw them as a most precious gesture of protection and watchcare.
I saw them as words that bring healing and comfort.
And maybe,
 just maybe,
this connection between cherries and death,
this brand new way of seeing
the ageless love of my Heavenly Father,
is a beautiful step in me
finding peace in the pain.






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1 comment:

  1. Hi Stacy, I love when God reveals a great truth like that, and in that truth there is comfort, contentment and joy. Thinking of you always
    God bless
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete

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