Polishing … prunes and me

 In faith, family

I was cherishing time at my parents’ home – sweet scents, comfort food and three generations laughing together. Like usual, World News blared in the background. When, “new successful cancer treatment” flashed across the screen, I bolted to the TV with Mom close behind. Immunotherapy is becoming a viable option for certain melanomas. That’s great news for people with melanoma  …  but my dad has stage IV, terminal thyroid cancer. I sat down across from him, and looked closely. He’s thin. His skin is grey. His hair has grown back; and it’s wiry, curly and shiny silver now. He suffers side effects from daily chemo pills and recent radiation to the brain. He wore an old pair of jeans, a plain grey sweatshirt, and a black baseball cap – pretty standard casual wear for Dad. He looked tired after a long day of work and not sleeping well the night before. With his left leg crossing over in a number four shape, and arms folded against his chest, he listened to me wish … wish him better.

He nodded and then said one word: “Polishing.” He’s a man of little words. “It’s polishing you?” I confirmed. He nodded again, and added, “And you.” Then he glanced around the room and his fingers sprawled out to span the space, suggesting that it’s polishing all of the people (big and small) who were home that night; and all the others who love him and happen to be somewhere else.

Flash forward to this week’s prune picking. The kiddos climb ladders, sprawling out their fingertips to pick the highest and ripest. The old metal bucket grows heavier as oval prunes plop in. And as is the blessing of U-picks, a good number of fruits tumble straight to the tummy; never making it to the bucket … But before wet lips taste the sweetness, there was an important step: Polishing.

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Taking the prunes in our hands or putting them in our shirts, we rub off the white, waxy film – it’s the most organic packaging around. The wax repels water and reduces water permeation. And our little hands found that the longer the rub, the shinier, more appealing and more delicious the fruit. Rubbing takes extra time, it combines a bit of hand-made heat and pressure … but, to us, it’s worth it. Just look at the difference:



Likewise, Heavenly Father polishes us. It takes time. It’s hand-made (meaning personalized) heat and pressure, from an all-knowing and always-loving God … I’ll admit that it can hurt sometimes, and other times it feels so good – like the real me is finally making its way to the surface … Either way, it’s worth it. The results mean our spirits become more appealing, our eternal gain more delicious, and we will shine.

Oh, how I love picking fruit and seeing Him in all of it. Have you learned any life lessons during this U-pick season? I’d love to hear!

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