The end of June marks the time of strawberry season here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The local strawberry farm takes loads of us locals to the fields in a wagon pulled by a huge tractor. We come back with heaping containers of red, luscious strawberries along with red tongues and a few stains on our shoes and shorts. After the workers weigh up our bounty (and accept our carefully-saved cash for this very occasion), off we go to make jam, pies, and shortcake. Yummy!
Last night as I was making jam, I remembered a story my mother used to tell. One warm June day, she took my sister and me to pick strawberries. We must've been in the lower elementary grades. Crouched in my row, I suddenly heard Mom say to me, "Sarah, why are you picking white strawberries?"
"So everyone else can have the red ones," I answered. Needless to say, after a mild scolding, I have not picked a white strawberry since . . . at least not in a strawberry patch.
But there have been occasions I have been guilty of picking white strawberries over the years. Times when perhaps I didn't feel worthy or deserving. Times when I purposely took the short end of the stick, hung back, or allowed other people to determine what should have been my choices to make. Times when I needed to speak up, ask questions, and hold my ground.
Maybe you've picked a few white strawberries, yourself?
I'm learning that although compliance, humility, and service have their place, strength of character also includes backbone, holding your chin up, and choosing what's best for you, too. Always balanced with kindness and grace.
So, come. Take my hand. Let's pick strawberries together.
*Photos courtesy of bing.com