Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Every Day, and then the Rest

Fruits and vegetable somehow always look fresher and riper when you buy them in an open air farmer’s market. So you can imagine the produce at Mahanah Yehuda, the souk to end all souks, in Jerusalem. Each day there are strawberries as big as golf balls, even bigger, and they are as sweet and delicious as Godiva candy. There are persimmons and pomegranates, grapes, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe. Just about any fruit on earth is there for your shopping pleasure. Even dragon fruit is there when it’s in season.

I walk along each vendor who is hawking his merchandise; there are hundreds of them who are ready to make a sale. “Geveret, b’vacashah, Mrs. Please”, and he points to some luscious looking fruit or vegetable. But I pass them by. I stop at the usual places; the cheese man who gives you slices of samples and says for each cheese that you taste, “it’s the best cheese in the world”. I stop at the salad and olive man who always seems distracted, but somehow gets your order right even though he has talked to two other people in the meantime. And then I go to the fruit man with his dreadlocks. I pick up some bananas and a couple of pears that are soft and ripe and ready to eat and give him my shekels. As I begin to walk away I see some cantaloupes.

I pick one up and sniff it. Hmm, it smells ripe. It’s not too soft and looks rather good. It’s been a long time since I’ve had fresh cantaloupe. Another fruit vendor makes a sale. It’s rather heavy and since I’m walking I throw it into my large carry all for a safe journey home.

My knife makes the first cut into the melon and, to my surprise; it’s not the usual orangey-melon color inside. It’s green! It looks like the inside of a Honeydew melon. How strange I thought. I smelled it again and looked at the outside of the melon and sure enough it was a cantaloupe. I still didn’t believe that it was cantaloupe until I tasted it. It was sweet and delicious, just as cantaloupe ought to be.

Sometimes we are asked to trust and believe in the simplest of ways aren’t we? When we are so sure that things must be this way or that in order for our lives to be in order, God throws us a curve ball out of left field, and we are urged to trust that everything will be ok. It’s God’s humorous way of shaking us up and reminding us of who is in charge of this great creation. If God wants to create cantaloupes that look like honeydew melon on the inside, who am I to argue? I just needed a gentle reminder.

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