There’s nothing more beautiful and delicious than perfectly ripe fruit. You know your favorite kind–maybe blueberries that are just sweet enough or a peach so juicy it runs down your chin. You can tell when it’s ready.
This evening, I baked an Apple Pear Pie. The fruit was definitely ready. Although, it’s a matter of opinion in my household whether a pear should be squishy or crunchy. My husband says you should be able to shave off the peel and flesh with your teeth. Me–I like ’em a little crunchy. It’s a texture thing, I guess.
Funny thing about pies, though. For years, people have baked pies by “using up” fruit that was bruised–perhaps a little past ripe. Think of banana bread–everyone knows it’s the dark brown bananas that make it sweetest–not the perfectly ripened ones. Tonight, I was using up some fruit to make a pie for my daughter’s class tomorrow. They’re having a writer’s showcase and, like most events, the whole thing will be better with food, so she requested pie.
As I was peeling this really ugly fruit, I thought about peeling ripe fruit. You have to remove what seems like the prettiest part to get to what’s useful.It can be tedious, slippery, and a little dangerous with a sharp paring knife. And sometimes, even with the prettiest fruit, you get to peeling and then–a hidden bruise.
No doubt we’ve all been bruised at one time or another. Some have bruises that are deeper and darker than others.
When I was little, I never wanted to eat the bruised part of a banana. I felt kinda cheated by the deceiving yellow peel. Where did that bruise come from, anyway? My mom always said, “Gimme that bite. The bruises are the sweetest.” I thought she was nuts, and I was glad for her to get rid of the part I didn’t want. But as usual, I realized later that she was right.
I can’t count the number of delicious pies I’ve baked from bruised fruit. Fruit with no more brightly colored peel. Fruit painstakingly pared down to the most useful parts. Full of sweet bruises.
Thank goodness we are still useful when we’re bruised. The painful circumstances we go through often do end up yielding the sweetest results. It’s just that sometimes the painful peeling, the preparation, the waiting–it can deaden our taste buds for a while.
I’m telling you the truth–some of the people who have impacted my life in the sweetest ways were really bruised up. They have suffered loss, abuse, loneliness, shame, bankruptcy, death, fear, abandonment, hunger, and the list goes on. But these “bruisers” have been the ones to offer me encouragement, friendship, compassion, caring, healing, and love. Though they didn’t plan it and maybe never knew what they’d done, they helped heal my bruises.
Throughout history, folks have overcome their bruises to accomplish great things. In the Bible, God was always using bruised up loser-types to do His work. It’s still true today.
If you’re feeling bruised, wait for healing and the sweetness that will one day come.
If you know someone who’s bruised, be the healing that makes life sweet.
In closing, this Bible verse comes to mind:
“He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through His bruises we get healed.”
Isaiah 53:5–The Message