Thursday, August 27, 2020

Natural contentment

To the eye, a fresh, plump, ripe strawberry is a thing of beauty. However, many of the huge, fat strawberries found on our supermarket shelves are sadly lacking in the taste department. Often resembling a small apple, many of those wonderfully attractive, commercially grown strawberries can be dry on the inside and totally devoid of taste. 


Imagine our delight when we discovered a local grower where strawberries are picked in the morning and sold in the afternoon for $12 a kilo. Delicious, juicy, fresh, locally grown strawberries – wow – can it get any better? 


Well, actually it can. Yesterday we picked our first home grown strawberries, right here in Shoalwater, WA. After losing a few to the hungry and rather crafty ravens, a small investment in cloth bird protection allowed our strawberries to fully ripen in the sun. These little treasures, packed with sweetness, fuelled by rainfall, grown in compost and devoid of chemical fertilisers and pesticides were a taste of heaven. The locally grown strawberries seemed dull, lifeless and ordinary compared to our own shiny fruit which had travelled less than 15 metres from ‘paddock to plate’ and was enjoyed within an hour of harvest. 


2020 has been a tough year. The darkness, the struggles, the rules, the restrictions, the border closures, the politics, the changes and the economic disaster have sadly been intertwined with illness and death. It’s been a year when it often felt like the sun had stopped shining. 


However, the sun still continues to shine behind the clouds. 


The majesty, the mystery and the sheer magnificence of our world are not diminished by struggle. The natural world goes on. Plovers raise their chicks in the field, whales continue to migrate, pelicans awkwardly land on crystal clear waters,  tiny fairy penguins return each evening to feed their chicks and snails enjoy their slimy evening dinner all within a stone’s throw of our suburban backyard. A seed germinates in soil and life bursts forth, seemingly out of nothing. A plant produces a berry that not only feeds, but thrills.


All over the world, even in places of extreme suffering life goes on. Babies continue to be born. Children risk falling as they learn to walk, kids continue to play, teenagers muddle their way through and grown-ups try to grow up. People still fall in love and marry,  with or without guests at their wedding.


Despair in hard times is the obvious default. Faith looks up, past the struggle, to see the beauty. Hope looks out, beyond the darkness and insists that there is a better day coming. Love remains God’s finest gift and our greatest calling.  


I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength

Phil 4: 11-13

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