fruit in the gray areas

What does it mean to “bear the fruit of the spirit”?

Love, joy, peace, patience…alluh them fruits.

These little nuggets can feel so frustratingly and unsatisfyingly un-nuggety in the context of a real life. So intangible, unspecific. Yeah, we’re supposed to “love like Jesus does,” have “joy like a fountain,” embody “peace like a river” — so many attempts at corporealizing these inherently disembodied whisps — but what does that look and smell and feel like? What flavors do they come in? Are they chewy? Are they soft? Will they be a lil off because I didn’t measure out 3/4 of the egg but instead used a whole one?! [Currently baking a rare batch of cookies; clearly obsessing.]

A discussion bit during the DC small group on this Tuesday night, though, gave me a glimpse into what it might actually factually mean to “bear” these “fruits” in our actual-factual lives, here on planet Earth.

That maybe fruits are borne as we delineate between the Right and the Wrong in those pesky little areas of life that are unruly and gray and subjective. Those situations where you keep asking God, “What really is the right decision?? Can you just show me with a shiny light? A metaphor secret just between us two? The proverbial neon sign?” because either path is just a humdrum Italian blend of pro-con lists, parsley and dried basil, and it really feels like it’s up to you to make a choice and then take charge and responsibility for the results. (#adulting, gross.)

That these fruits are seen when you find yourself in moments of true, ambivalent uncertainty and must forge your own boundaries because the Bible doesn’t have any explicit advice for you re: dating. re: your diet restrictions. re: self-confidence, sorry. All those areas of actual-factual life with their actual-factual particularities that aren’t covered in any rulebook of the universe; where one answer might be Right for you in a sitch but totally Wrong for another in the same. Where answers may vary depending on the season and the temperature and the holder of the thermometer, if you catch my drift.

Those ones you’re supposed to figure out despite the silence of the voices of old — by application of previous wisdoms.

That, in this way, the bearing of fruits parallels the figuring-out process of the specifics of living that makes my life different from yours and different, yet, from his over there. That the fruits and their bearing, like those areas of specific gray, are what make each life unique and very interesting. Full of flavor and texture, if I may, and chewy with a lil crust of crunch around the browned edges — and often, too, quite forgiving of the extra quarter egg tossed in there despite the recipe’s specificity.

[insert photo of 5.5 giant oatmeal choc chip cookies here, more picturesque than real life but perfectly chewy, just like she wanted.]


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