The Fables of Aesop is out now!

What Fruitfulness Feels Like

Back in early spring, the sapling peach tree in the backyard flung its blossom-ruffled branches skyward. Now summer’s coming on, and the branches bend with the burden of fruit. Hard green balls as yet, but beginning to flush gold, as if drawing a last deep breath to exhale into ripeness.

My friend is pregnant with her first child. After our visit the other afternoon, she had to sit to pull on her shoes; had she tried it standing, the weight in her womb would’ve tipped her right over.

What does fruitfulness look like? We picture the golden fields and the heaping tables and the joyous chorus of harvest-home; but truly, to be fruitful means to be weighted, burdened, bowed under the blessing. It’s Ruth lugging sacks of beaten barley; the priests balancing the holy, heavy Ark; a mother’s arms aching as her infant fattens; a tree’s slender branches bending to the ground. The weak or brittle of heart and arm may snap beneath it. Those who can bend and bear may endure.

In this world, to be fruitful does not mean ease and pleasure only. It means being crushed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Take heart. The weakness you feel, the sense of being stretched to snapping, may be a sign, not of futility, but of fruit.

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