Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday for restaurants, after Mother’s Day. The optimist in me sees happy couples lingering in the candlelight of love. The realist in me sees people eating. Love may make life worthwhile, but we eat food to survive.
And, the farmer in me knows that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.
Let’s take a quick look at fruit.
Fruit trees are planted. The trees require 5–8-years of growth before a commercial crop is produced. All the while, the trees and soil require care. Then, to harvest successfully, the fruit must be picked at a specific time of maturity, before being taken out of the field to be washed, packaged, and shipped to grocery stores.
Furthermore, if we expect to eat fruit in the winter, the produce is preserved either by means of canning or freezing.
Basically, a colossal amount of work, time, and thought goes into food availability. The elements of weather and the market are accounted for. And it’s the same for love.
When needing, or even wanting, love, I remind myself there is more to it than romance and eating chocolate. Many attributes and elements are involved.
To find elements associated with love, I plodded through the Bible and read this verse from Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
In other words, I read, don’t try to cultivate only love. The fruit of Spirit isn’t only love, but love, joy, peace, patience, yadda yadda.
Seemed acceptable. I couldn’t argue with the fact that the attributes on that list were things that I, well, like to experience. So, they all must be important.
However, I got a bit stymied by the word “Spirit.” I mean come on, what is Spirit? It’s unseen, indescribable, immeasurable, pretty complicated.
Added to the complication is bad timing. Just like on the farm, if fruit was picked before it ripened, it was sour. And, if we waited too long to pick, the fruit was rotten.
Sour or rotten love, is the pits.
Screeeeeech, that is where I applied the mental brakes to stop myself from going in circles around only love.
I broadened my diet, so to speak. I made, and still make, efforts to eat up joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
For example, while negotiating today’s societal culture of women working outside the home and men working inside the home, I exercised faithfulness and stayed married after telling my husband, “Please don’t ever wash my blouse in the same laundry load with the mudroom rugs ever again. Stuff doesn’t just come out of the machine, clean. The mud from the rugs got in my blouse and ruined it.”
Okay, I confess to selective memory and probably told my husband, “Start helping around the house better or we’re getting a divorce,” but we’re still happily together after 33-years.
As for the element of patience, this is very interesting.
For certain: I am not a source of patience.
And because of my bossy gene, I can’t help but admit that the source of my husband’s patience with me must be infinite.
The source of patience must be unending, why not call it Spirit.
I may not be able to see or measure Spirit, but I can know Spirit. I can know Spirit as source. The fruit source. Said in another way, when I stop believing and acting as though other people, or I, am a source of love, I’m in line to reap success in love.
We can reap success in love because love isn’t dependent on dinner or a personal relationship. Love is internalized along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, all of which we can get our teeth into this Valentine’s Day, or now.
Bio: Cheryl Petersen lives in Delhi. Her books are: “from science & religion to God,” and, “Zen Kitty: and other meows”, available on Amazon.com