1. Ah good morning. Welcome to the fruit shop of life.
2. Yes, morning, I thought I’d pop in and pick up a few bits of fruit…
1. Oh well how about a bumper bag of swagger, just the thing.
2. Hmm, I’m not sure…
1. It’s cheap. On offer this week.
2. What about some of those?
1. What? Those plums of perseverance? They’re a little on the expensive side. I could do you a bag of cynicism, with a carton of scepticism? All really easy to serve up and dish out.
2. Tempting. But how about a couple of bags of kindness and restraint?
1. Not popular this time of year, not really the season. Discord’s in though, you could have a cluster of that, along with a few pieces of arrogance and contempt. I could do you a nice mix of that lot. And throw in a smattering of blame for free?
2. I’ve tried that stuff, leaves me dissatisfied you know, with a sort of empty-feeling. Sweet at the time, but not a great aftertaste. D’you have any encouragement?
1. Got some sniping. And we just had a crate of bragging come in this morning too. Fresh and bolshy.
2. Yea, but doesn’t stay fresh for long does it? Soon goes off. How about a few punnets of kindness and generosity?
1. (Sharp intake of breath) That’ll cost you! I got some slices of self-interest and misunderstanding. They’ve been hanging around so I could drop the price for you. And… I’ve got a big ego.
2. I can see that.
1. No, look (points) the last one in stock. Over there. Behind you. A big ego. Opposite the grapes of wrath.
2. (Looking around) Well… ooh! I know… where’s the peace, love and understanding?
1. Out the back there. Gets side-lined at the moment.
2. I’ll take some of that.
1. Well… if you’re sure… they do say it’s nourishing. D’you know what? I might join you. I had a bellyful of oneupmanship earlier and it’s really upset my system.
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Or to put it another way
Imagine an orchard…
…an unusual orchard full of trees loaded with fresh fruit. Fruit of all shapes and sizes and varieties. Some bear the fruit of truth, some of strength, some of patience, others direction. Some hold fresh food full of kindness, some full of hope, some full of adventure, some full of change. Others hold fruit full of calm, others full of energy, others full of restraint. Then there are those that bear the fruit of love, laughter, peacefulness, kindness, durability, or encouragement. Then there are those loaded with forgiveness, perseverance, faith, or tolerance. So many trees, so much fruit. There are plenty of other trees of course, with fruit that will satisfy a few temporary appetites, send a surge for half an hour. Like swagger, or bragging, or oneupmanship; cynicism, discord, scepticism, arrogance, division and contempt. And we all pick this stuff from time to time. But these things tend not to feed the soul, instead sapping its vigour and sucking the generosity from us. So it’s discerning which is the best fruit, which we dare reach for, and that’s not straightforward. Not always easy. The fruit we most need may not be popular, not the flavour of the month.
So… which do we need today? Which should we reach for? Which will best sustain us, which will nourish Us? Which’ll be the helpful food for the present journey?