I think those are perhaps the most wonderful pieces of fruit I’ve ever bought.
“You mean those two small, barely-in-season mangoes?” You ask.
Because I’ve been waiting about seven months for mango season to come back. That’s right. Seven long months of looking fruitlessly (pun more or less intended) in the fruit sellers’ stands, unsure of when their juicy satisfyingness would return to bless my mouth.
Living in a country where fruits and vegetables run on a very definite (if somewhat mysterious) cycle of being present and being gone has made me appreciate the words of season in Ecclesiastes 3 a bit differently… The seasons, come and go – first planting, then tearing, then planting again… And their coming and going is completely out of our control… Which is frustrating
You see, I just passed through a season of… something… I didn’t cry, but I also didn’t laugh. Trouble sleeping, lack of motivation to write, study, leave my house… I knew it was part of the journey into another culture… but that knowledge didn’t really help on day 13 of wanting to stow away on a plane and head for permanent residence in the US of A.
So yesterday’s purchase of mangoes was more of a statement and personal celebration about the end of a season. Here’s what I’ve learned about seasons while waiting for mangoes:
1) Seasons come and go with alarming, divine ease. No one consulted me as to when mango season should end or how long it would take them to come back. Seasons like periods of laughter and dancing seem to fade into seasons of weeping and mourning against my will. I often don’t get to control when a time of building up turns into a time of tearing down. In the midst of seasonal changes I cannot dictate, I try to rest in the One who guides the seasons.
2) Expect the next season. I knew mango season started around April, but I started looking for them whole-heartedly in March. And before the mango season ends in August, I’ll be researching if its possible to successfully freeze strips of mango. When I felt that God was far away and a season of tearing and silence was working itself out, I ached for the season to come of sewing and speaking. And because I know another season of spiritual war and death-to-self is coming again soon, I’m resolving to learn all I can during this season of relative peace and new birth.
3) There’s good and bad in every season. When there were no mangoes around, pears appeared in the fruit stands. They’re slowly going away now as mangoes make their re-appearance. While I don’t relish the thought that another season of stress and trouble is coming… I do value what I learned in the last season of such. The fruits of faithfulness, patience and joy-in-trials aren’t often found in the same fruit stands as rest, ease, and peaceful circumstances.
We exchange one set of fruits for another. Both seasons contain good fruits, its just that one isn’t a favorite.
For the moment, I’m glad the mangoes are reappearing along with my joy at life in a foreign country.
Its going to be a good season.
What kind of season are you in now? What can you do to anticipate the next season? Are you trusting the One who brings the seasons in and out of our lives?