Spiritual Fruit

Freshly picked harvest

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.—GALATIANS 5:22 [NIV]

I stopped at a market to buy my elderly mother produce. While she was growing up during the Depression, her parents always put out big gardens. Her family was poor, but never went hungry. Mom still loved fresh foods.

I let myself in to her apartment. She turned briefly from watching Oprah and waved. As I set the bags down, I noticed a platter of spoiled fruit on her table. I checked the fridge. Untouched vegetables, way past their prime. What a waste. Of food . . . and of my time.

“Mom, why did I get all this produce for you when most of what I brought last week has spoiled?”

“I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t know it had gone bad.” I knew my words stung, but I didn’t apologize. I threw out the old produce and left in a hurry, not sticking around to chat.

Driving home, I felt remorseful. So what if some food went to waste? Mom didn’t have much appetite anymore. Maybe she cherished food today for the memories instead of for the nourishment. Perhaps she envisioned her mother slicing tomatoes. Or remembered women in her family sitting outside snapping green beans.

Spoiled food wasn’t a big deal. Mom’s world had shrunk to four walls, and memories were one of the only pleasures she had left. I turned around and drove back to her place. It was time to apologize.

Today's Prayer:

Father, keep our words kind and understanding as our loved ones’ circumstances change.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts