On Gleaning and Giving
Say what you will about Facebook, but through my News Feed, I have learned some really great things.
I now know the exact temperature on at least 49 people’s dashboards.
I can tell you the last five songs my high school junior varsity basketball coach listened to.
I’ve seen more ultrasound photos than most gynecologists.
Salem Harvest throws “gleaning parties” at local orchards and fields, in which volunteer pickers harvest fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Half of each harvest is donated to the Marion-Polk Food Share, and the volunteer pickers take home the remainder. Last year through Salem Harvest, 1,800 volunteers gathered over 92,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables. Holy moly!
Free fruits and vegetables for me?
Feeding the hungry?
A summer family activity that doesn’t involve public swimming pools with questionable urine content and Speedos (fingers crossed)?
Sign me up.
We headed out to the farm expecting to pick maybe a pound of cherries, sparsely spread out over a few trees. I mentally prepared myself for a hot and uncomfortable time, ripe with complaints (namely mine).
Instead, we found tree after tree just dripping with fruit.
And a huge truck full of empty crates waiting for us to get to work.
We filled a bucket. And then two more.
We laughed as my dear husband, jumped to reach cherries far too high for his vertical. Oh, that dreamer of mine. LeBron he ain’t.
We talked about our days as we stripped the branches, cherry juice running down our arms, mixing with sweat and dust into a satisfying, sticky grime.
And I felt overwhelming gratitude.
For the generosity of the farmers.
For the friends that you rub shoulders with each day (via Facebook and otherwise) and whether they know it or not, help you become more.
For the three people in the world that share my heart.
Lulu stopped to spit out a pit, looked up at me and said, “God gave His love to the whole world.”
I smiled and said, “That’s right!”
She nodded proudly and dropped a cherry in her bucket. And shoved two more in her mouth.
We picked about ten pounds in an hour and quickly had more than we could carry. Gigi, sweet girl with her father’s optimism, tried to lug her full bucket around until her arm nearly fell off.
We dumped our contributions in the crates on the truck and loaded our own share into the back of our car.
On the way home, we stopped for Mexican food. Lulu dumped out the community chips, examined each one for the salt and lime content, and picked out the best chip in the basket. She looked at it longingly, and then extended her arm to offer it to me.
“Here, Mama. It’s God’s love.”
It was the best chip I ever ate.
And I have a new favorite day.
Maybe Facebook isn’t so bad. Uteruses and all.
*If you have an abundance of fresh cherries, try these recipes:
Double Chocolate + Cherry Cookies (these are in my oven right now)
+ more soon!
*A new She Reads Truth plan starts today (click here to find out how to join). This study’s topic is Prayer. On your smart phone, you can find it on the You Version App under “Topical” plans (scroll down about 50 plans–it’s a three week study). Join us if it’s on your heart!