I did something strange the other night. Well, really I did three strange things in a row. They weren’t all on the same day or even at night either. The first was that I picked up a grapefruit from the side of the road while dawn was breaking one morning after a storm. It had blown down in the dark with some buddies when wind had whipped through the valley. The second was that I kept the grapefruit in my car for two weeks. I had been intending to eat it—delicious!—but only ever got around to smelling its sweet spiciness occasionally. This led to the third thing. After driving up the hill home around midnight a few days ago, I lobbed it into the air. I had let it become rather soft and squishy and degenerate too much for consuming. I watched it, car headlights still on and street lights shining, sail downwards, smack into the road, find the gutter and roll away.
Weird. I don’t know why anyone would throw a grapefruit down a hill. Do you? It was thoroughly enjoyable though.
Oddly, it was also rather instructive. It made me think about life, my favourite subject: how sometimes the unexpected happens (life often careens in a direction we never anticipated), and how it smells good too.
Have you ever felt up-in-the-air and unsure of where you will land? Maybe the world seems like it’s spinning or hurtling towards you. Or, maybe, you looked up and can’t figure out how you got to this point. I get it.
I, too, sometimes feel like I’m not coping. I find myself at a point where I just want to be a girl, forget my responsibilities, and have a wee cry for no reason. Or pat my cat for two hours as if I don’t have other things to do, pat her just because she meows to say, “I like you.” I begin to feel a bit like I’m hanging suspended, just waiting to come tumbling down. Throwing a grapefruit down a hill gave me an excellent metaphor for this experience: I am the fruit, the throw and the hill are my life and the outcome of events—and the night-time? My lack of understanding about the future.
But even that night there was light.
And even in our darkest times there is hope. We may have unsure footing and come crashing down but the psalmists felt this way and lamented too. However, they knew, as we can know in times like these, that God is King and Ruler and Guide. This was what comforted them when the difficulty was real—when their enemies surrounded them and they faced death: “When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94, verses 18–19, KJV) God is trustworthy. He gave them peace.
We also may feel propelled by unseen forces, but the Bible teaches us that God is in control. We may feel hopeless, but God tells us there is hope in Jesus: sure, unfading, unchanging and eternal salvation when we believe. We may feel in the dark, but Jesus is the light of men; we don’t need to worry about the unseen but can know that all will be made right for those who trust in Him.
When looked at this way, being a grapefruit doesn’t seem so bad.
It’s not so bad in other ways too. Grapefruits are fragrant. Smokey, tart, syrupy, peppery are words I put to the smell. There are layers and subtleties which lemons and oranges lack: vibrancy and an expression of life.
So, even if you feel thrown down a hill, remember you smell good.
No—remember that you are alive. You have been blessed beyond measure with uncountable gifts from God, not least of which is existence itself. Life inevitably has up and downs and sometimes there are actually gutters that we hit and roll down, but, as Red says in Shawshank Redemption, we can either, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
So what will you do with the life you have been given? Will you turn to the God who made it and trust Jesus?
Irenie How was rescued from darkness by the grace of God when she was running away. God showed her He is the Lord and she wants you to know this too. She designs, illustrates, loves, moves forward, and lives. Check out some of her work on Instagram (@irenie.anne)or Behance and drop her a line!
Irenie How’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/irenie-how.html