Monday, July 5, 2010


The lesson for the season is abundance, it seems. Someone keeps telling me that whatever I need, however much, it will come. Someone keeps telling me that I won't be left in need, that I don't have to just get by. Someone keeps telling me, "I am happy to give to you, to give you good things. To provide. To satisfy. To rejoice with you, to rejoice in you." Really? I can ask for more?

You won't be mad at me?

Someone keeps telling me that this doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus says that the Martians had a win-lose philosophy (I will win even if it makes you lose), and the Venusians had a lose-win philosophy (I will lose so that you can win). I am learning: God doesn't work that way. He doesn't resent giving me things. He doesn't invest in me coldly, waiting for it to pay off, cursing when the stock goes down as I get worried or impatient or sick or side-tracked. He doesn't wish He hadn't lavished so much on me to get so little in return. He doesn't think that I already have my fair share, I can't possibly ask for more.

I'm the one who thinks those things. I'm the one who draws those lines, lines on a graph, trying to quantify, or at least develop a model of myself relative to the people around me--or no, that's bad! A model of myself relative to the self I was in the past. That's good, right? I just need to know what's expected of me. I just need the syllabus for life so I can tell if I'm doing okay. Just the syllabus and my grades. Professor, I don't need your time, I don't mean to bother you. I know it's not your office hours right now. I just want this little thing: tell me I'm all right.

I just want to know what's expected of me? No, I am just want to know what to expect. I am so afraid to hope and be disappointed, I am so petrified by the idea of asking and being turned down. So I stop hoping, stop asking.

But this isn't the season for scarcity. Life isn't a bowl of waxy apples being passed around the table--only take one, there aren't enough. Life isn't a pile of cold oranges at the grocery store, stacked in a giant pyramid, $1.29 / lb. Count out how many you'll eat this week. Don't buy too many, they're expensive. Besides, who knows if they're any good. They're not in season.

Life isn't even the overflowing boxes at the farmer's market, the little trays of samples, the earnest sellers who tell you, Those are sweet, those are still crunchy. Try this, you'll like it. Discount if you buy five pounds! The sun shines on the people and on the canopies. In this little island of shade, the scent of summer wafts up from the peaches and nectarines, the plums and tomatoes.

For the season is summer. Winter has passed, the pale creature. It has stalked off into the night. The season has turned.

We are staring into the sun, as it pours down on us sunbeams without number. Who could count them? Who would want to? Abundance is the sunshine streaming down. Abundance is the tree in the yard, laden with fruit, a hundred jewel-toned globes like Christmas ornaments. Two hundred. A thousand. The apricots fall to the ground, ooze underfoot. The ants swarm around. But no matter how many fall, the tree has more. We climb the tree, plucking the fruit one by one. We pass empty baskets up into the tree, and lower them full and heavy and piled high. We look for people to take fruit from us. We thank them for receiving it. We are so happy to give it away. We just want it to be enjoyed.

That is abundance. That is life.

"If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" Jesus said. Someone keeps telling me to ask. Someone keeps telling me to hope--Someone keeps telling me to live!

It takes practice, asking. Let me start out small: God, please give me a good summer.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

[In reality, apricot season hasn't come yet. But that is irrelevant to this post, irrelevant to this point.]

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