“Oh Mom,” Gabriel says. “Look.”
We’re in the supermarket, and we’ve walked past a display of strawberries. They’re not the hard, pink berries that were here last month. These are rich and red.
“Remember when we picked our own berries? We should do that again this year.”
He looks wistful. His little-boy heart is filled with desire.
The day we picked berries was one of Gabriel’s favorite days. We’d driven deep into the country until we’d found the fields. Then the farmer gave us a box and a blessing. “Eat as many as you’d like,” he said. “It’s part of the deal.”
He walked us to our picking place. The green rows were thick with plump, ruby-colored berries. We sat on the ground and the little boys searched with nimble fingers. They tasted until their forearms ran rivers of red.
Juice stained their smiles and dripped from their chins. The sun warmed our shoulders and the air was sweet with berries and earth and the hay between the rows.
Gabe will never forget.
I wonder, as I look at his smile now, if part of his joy was in the nature of the day. It was summer. We’d worn T-shirts and shorts. The sky was a seamless stretch of blue.
Now we’re in the final stages of winter. This morning there was a film of snow. Everything is drab. Brown. We’re waiting for brighter days. Clearer skies. Budding trees and green grass and air that hums with spring.
It can be this way with the circumstances of life.
We can be in a season of winter. Struggles can go long. We can grow tired and weary and the longing for sun-filled days beats strong in our souls.
For behold, winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. (Song of Solomon 2:11)
But winter passes. New life breaks the barren and presses through. We’re children of the Lord. We have hope because in Him, struggle will not last forever. Whether it ends in this life or in the endless realm of eternity with the Lord, winter will pass.
Gabriel and I buy a box of berries. We talk about the day when we’ll return to the farm. The anticipation is dear.
The time of singing will come!