My kids look at fruit as if they are inspecting a diamond for flaws.
Is this a good one Mommy?
My daughter was pointing at a blemish that comes from fruit grown outside in dirt and not genetically engineered.
My huffing sounds are barred by something almost like maturity, just in time. I pick up a different White Sapote with broken skin and beak marks where it is half eaten by whoever got there first.
After spitting out the seeds, I remembered bits of my filthy self as a daddy-chasing kid. The words dusted off and important to me again, I heard Dad say,
Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at. They know what’s good better than we do. Here Sana. Take this one. This is really sweet.
The fruit turning in my daughter’s hand, the cast-offs still in the basket, her anxiety about finding the best and my dad’s words came at me like the sounds between Broadway and 42nd Street. And out walked Jean.
Jean was a patient I had known, particular to me despite common problems.
Abuse since at least my daughter’s age or younger. Neglect. Disgusting trauma survived.
Jean who, after getting picked on for the first thirty years of her life, came to me, insisting on living. She resisted being a White Sapote in a bowl on the counter, inspected by passerbys. Her community had tried to declare her value, her second chances and hoped to cast her off.
Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at. They know what’s good better than we do. Here Sana.
Jean’s face was in my memory. Her white scar on her black skin shocked me; a large keloid.
Take this one. This is really sweet.
I gave my daughter a squeeze and told her what Papa had said. I’m so glad my daughter reminded me about this in we who have been hurt. (Okay. That’s all of us, see it or not.) The way Jean grew, looked for light, the courage she answered to, the newness that came out of used up and shabbiness – Jean was teaching me about value.
Even when we are not behaving well, when we don’t look good and when we drop the price of real estate, we have value. Somehow, being chosen for life is more important than being chosen to suffer. I wish I could explain why and how better but it’s just something each of us will have to experience for ourselves. We will have to in humility and wisdom, like Jean’s or my dad’s wisdom, find the sweetness in Me.
Questions: What is it about you that is particularly sweet? Do you perceive your value? Per what measure or qualifier? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Discover your sweetness. Be a friend to yourself