It finally happened. The first garden strawberry of the season. My favorite food is strawberries straight out of the garden, washed, and eaten while you can still taste the sun’s warmth in the juicy sweetness. The first one this year came by itself, and I was beside myself with excitement.
So far the strawberries have been a major disappointment. For days I’d had my eye on what should have been the first berries of the year. When they reached peak ripeness, I headed for them, still in my work scrubs. There were probably six or seven of them. Two were rotten on the underside and the rest had been eaten through by slugs. One by one I chucked them over the hill in disgust.
The waiting started again. I would have strawberries. My garden wouldn’t turn traitor for an entire summer. It couldn’t, could it? The next round of fruit set on and grew from seed coated yellowish green to blush to ruby. This time, oh the joy, there was a salvageable berry.
As I held it in my hand, for some reason I thought about how God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice the firstfruits. There may be more strawberries this summer, but none will be quite as special as this one. No other strawberry will be that first, long awaited treat. The anticipation for it had built since last fall, and here it was.
It made more sense now. God doesn’t want to be put on the backburner. He wants our best. Personally, I think leftovers are wonderful, but I wouldn’t serve them to company. God doesn’t want the second go around either. Giving up the firstfruits meant a longer wait for self-gratification. More sacrifice behind the sacrifice.
However, since we don’t live under the Mosaic law, I was actually going to get to eat this strawberry. My next thought was I had to share it with my husband. Not “had to” as in being obligated to, but in the I couldn’t imagine it any other way version of had to. I rushed inside and told him I had a strange request. He gave me that look that means he finds whatever I have just said intriguing. I get that look a lot.
I took the strawberry, pictured above, and split it top to bottom. I got philosophical again in the process. I realized that this was one of my most favorite things in the world, and my desire to share it with Mark was as strong as wanting to eat it myself. In fact, most of the enjoyment of eating it would have been lost if I hadn’t shared it with him.
We each ate half of a strawberry with dinner that night.
That strawberry has actually been on my mind often. Odd as it may sound, that’s what love is for me. It’s wanting to split the strawberry. I Corinthians 13:5 says that love does not seek its own. Loving someone means you want the best for them. Wanting to share everything with them.
Bursting with excitement to tell him when I got good feedback from the editor of my Christian fiction novel in progress. Wanting him to be the one I unburden to when I’ve had a bad day at work (in compliance with all privacy laws). Picking out the kind of bread he likes at the store. Going through my day at work wondering how his work is going. For me, that’s how I know I’m in love. That’s what it looks like in the everyday.
To you wonderful readers, I hope you have found the person you can share your strawberry with. If you haven’t, hold out for that person. If you’re in a relationship and this sounds foreign, I hope you’re able to build your relationship into the beautiful gift God meant it to be. Of course ours isn’t always perfect. It’s better, because it’s real. It’s work. It’s commitment. It’s sharing the strawberry.
How about you? Any everyday things that take you by surprise and remind you of what love is?
May the Lord bless and keep you,