I hate that my computer thinks I misspelled that (that and wow, I often misspell the word misspelled… awkward), because it rubs my face in the fact that I live in a world largely unfamiliar with pluotts. A cross between a plum and an apricot (not to be confused with apriplums or plumcots. Imposters. Go ahead, red squiggle of death — go to town on those), it is heaven with a pit. When I first ventured into the rapid-fire vomit train that is pregnancy, pluotts were a staple in my fridge, as they were the only food I could keep down for longer than five minutes.
And seven minutes counted for a lot in those days.
But to be strictly accurate, this isn’t merely an ode to pluotts. It is an ode to summer. It is an exercise in thankfulness. It is now August, and I have resigned myself to buying school books and saying words like fa….l….l…. gah, still sticks a bit… I already confessed to you all how I rode the struggle bus of ingratitude pretty hard last week, and (this may shock you — brace well) I do feel a certain reticence when I ponder the changing of the seasons. My shocking skinny dip into being a lousy ingrate last week (behind on our blog reading, are we? Curious yet?) exposed a fine line in my heart that needs walking: the line between an Ebenezer and a pillar of salt.
And this does connect to pluotts. Buckle up.
There are different ways of remembering, different ways of looking back. God instructed His people to raise up memorial stones, to remind a forgetful people that He has never forgotten them. These Ebenezers, these memorial stones, were tangible, visible, designed to remain — God who was faithful to you in the past will be faithful to you in the future. These stones were erected in the desert… they were not to wait until they awash in milk and honey to declare that God was good and had in fact been good to them. The memorial stones were as much a remembrance of past goodness as they were a faith-filled declaration of confidence in the Lord and the trustworthiness of His promises for the future. They were not to forget.
And then we have Lot’s wife. Looking back is not inherently an act of gratitude. It is obviously very tempting here to make a series of cracks about not all salt being kosher, but I made a New Year’s resolution about avoiding the low hanging fruit.
I struggle with salt-inducing reminiscience, in two distinct and joy-killing forms.
The first is the sort of looking back that longs for the easier days — for the day before a life-changing diagnosis, for the home that knew innocence in the ways of the current trial, for who I used to be. Funny thing about this sort of look back… it is a squinting sort of memory. It knows, of course, that you had difficulties and struggles. But what rises to the top is the simplicity, the joy, the freedom of that season as compared to the current season. And it was. I cannot pretend otherwise. But to pine for the past is to refuse God glory for what He is doing right now. David wrote psalms from caves… he did not downplay the distress, nor fail to give God praise for His faithfulness in the past — he pleaded for mercy in the dark from the God who led him into it. He didn’t get salty about it.
The second involves a reminiscience that can creep in after God has convicted you and granted you repentance from the first sort of remembering — it is the woeful looking back on sins that have been forgiven. Forgiven, mind you. As in done, finished, cast as far as the east is from the west. When God shines a light on your sin, it is that you might be driven to the cross, the only place where burdens drop and stay dropped. If you are in Christ, you are a new creation. If He has forgiven me, I am forgiven indeed and it is the height of ingratitude (yet again) for me to go dredging up the mess of last week’s attitude, to fear living in freedom and joy because deep down, I know that I will do it again, that I do not deserve this forgiveness. Because I don’t. But then, that has nothing to do with it in the first place.
So this brings us (obviously, I hope) back to pluotts. I find myself seeking right remembrance today. I am on a treasure hunt, searching out the ways God has filled this summer that I might have no dread of moving forward into the next season, into a new school year — I am singing praises on purpose today that I might eagerly sing praises tomorrow, no matter what cave I may find myself in. The next season may, in fact, be harder than this one. But the Lord is unchanging. And His gifts are perfect.
- The ripe, overflowing abundance of vegetables and fruits, piled high on my counter, filling boxes on my floor, stuffed into my fridge. I absolutely love it.
- Roses in bloom — my, but I have waited for these!
- How the sleepiest Mondays sometimes encourage the best storylines, the most active spurts of play, long hours spent building and creating and laughing. Lord, teach me how to remember rightly so that years from now, I can remember mornings like this with joy and sweetness instead of bitterness and loss.
- Songs that transport you in an instant to former moments in time.
- The way the light filters into the kitchen in the early morning, reflecting across dishes and towels.
- Antique glass dishes given to me by my grandmother, every year on my birthday since I got married, filled with plums, tomatoes, peppers, muffins, and whatever else I find beautiful, gracing my countertops.
- Literal salt in a small ceramic bowl, painted with flowers. Pretty sure this bowl was intended for some sort of sushi related procedure. Beats me. I thought it was cute.
- Salted butter. Wait, we are already talked about that, didn’t we…
- Kids learning to work hard and well.
- Teenage daughters. I absolutely love it, everything about it. How funny that they should worry about wearing me out with their talking — I would not have it any other way.
- Fresh peaches sliced on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
- Instacart. I am both embarrassed by this admission, and yet incredibly thankful. More on that later.
Alright. Your turn. Look up — look back, but with thankfulness — declare the goodness of God. Name them, hoist up your Ebenezers, sing louder. Stick your list in the comments — I’ll sing about it with you.