Some say love is spelled T-I-M-E. I say it’s spelled R-A-S-P-B-E-R-R-I-E-S and it’s measured in mosquito bites and thornbush scratches.
It’s funny how they grow together- isn’t it? – the mosquitos and the berries, the stinging and the sweet, the bramble and the rose.
And picking that bucket of raspberries tonight- with mosquitoes buzzing and sweat dripping and thorns scratching and practically hyperventilating as I blew the pesky critters off my nose- reminded me of a fabled 50 year-old tale.
A tale without which there might not be me.
Once Upon A Time…
A fair maiden named Darlene met a strapping young man named Mitchell on the high school debate bus. At once Mitchell knew he’d found his mate. It took the cheery, sunshine Darlene just a little longer.
Soon high school let out for the summer. And you know how the field looks different come summer.
Mitchell must have know too, about teenage summers and how other fellas work the fields. So one July day a lot like today, along came young Mitchell.
But Mitchell was wise. He wasn’t empty-handed when he came courting fair Darlene.
Oh no. Mitchell came bearing the crown jewel of summer treasures. For it, the smitten young man had endured fierce summer sun, fought many a thorn and nearly been borne by mosquitoes.
Mitchell was so taken with Darlene that those hours in the bramble seemed like seconds at the junior prom. Such was Mitchell’s love for the sunny and smiling Darlene.
The Cost of Love
So now, with the fields ripening fast in the middle of a Mukwonago summer, along came Mitchell, bearing the costliest of gifts for his princess Darlene.
When came the knock, Darlene opened the door. She saw Mitchell’s scratches and welts and his strong juice-stained, thorn-scratched hands.
Then those bright hazel eyes locked on the pail. Oh, that pail!- glistening on top, laden with the finest of July.
And with just one look at the amethyst gems in that brimming-full pail, Mitchell and Darlene’s deal was sealed.
Mom and Dad have been married 48 years this July 17th.
Freedom and Love and Raspberries Aren’t Free
All that to say on this raspberry picking day after the Fourth of July, freedom’s not free. Our founders pledged their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor when they declared us free. Brave men and women give their lives to preserve our liberty. And it’s effortful, still, holding freedom up with virtuous, tolerant lives.
Our spiritual freedom came at a high cost too. The cost of one perfect life. For Jesus, in love, gave his life to redeem us. His blood-stained, nail-pieced hands bought us out of sin’s bramble. A high price was paid to bring us to him.
So no, love is not without cost and freedom’s not free.
But neither is a bucket of black raspberries.
You are not your own, you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20