Thursday, December 16, 2010


There was once (and still is, I am sure) a boy named Billy. Billy was best described as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, a real go-getter who saw the world as his oyster and wanted nothing more than to experience everything creation had to offer him. With reckless abandonment, Billy took hold of everything he could get his hands on. Realizing that his hands were not big enough to hold it all in, Billy took a taste of everything before proceeding to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Before long, Billy had a long list of things he had tasted, but realized something tragic: he could not recall how anything really tasted. In the quiet times of the evening, Billy wanted to dwell on a specific memory, something rich and rewarding that would give him comfort before dipping into a deep slumber. But, each night, Billy found himself instead immersed in longing as the sleepies drifted in.

Billy wanted to explore an experience in his mind to the fullest. He wanted to be able to recall every little bite, every flavour he tasted as it went down his throat. He wanted to remember the joy of feeling full, sometimes uncomfortably, or how tantalized his senses felt at the moment of dining. But, Billy could not distinguish one experience from the other, nothing significant stood out, and he had nothing substantial to draw from...

In an orchard stood a large tree. She had spent years and years drinking vital nutrients from the rich soil. She had spent years and years thriving and soaking up every last drop of rainfall, every last ray of sunshine. The beautiful tree had spent years going from a weak and flimsy sapling into a large and strong sight, her branches long and firm, her leaves lush and green. When the time was right, the mighty tree began to see something beautiful between her leaves, many red orbs that began to dangle almost precariously (but firmly) from its branches. In the right light was an almost infinite depth of ruby red gleaning off of each smooth surface. These apples were some of the best a young boy could taste, a sweet, cool crispness on a warm spring day. The tree was proud for she had nourished herself well, established her roots, and was now producing beautiful, rich fruit. Tall and dignified, she stood waiting for nothing more than for someone to come along and partake in that which she had grown, that which she had worked so hard to develop.

Through the years she saw many people pass by, sometimes near, sometimes far. When she was still young and had not yet developed her fruits, people marveled at her beauty but kept on their way. Once she had spent enough time developing herself, however, one spring day, something different happened. Over the rich, lush, green meadow hills she saw a small figure approaching rapidly, a lean human with with a boyish grin splashed across a slightly dirty (yet sweet) face, a face enveloped by a full head of hair fluttering in the breeze. When she saw the spirited, joyful-looking boy, she wanted nothing more than for him to see not just her beauty, but to see the fruits of her labor, the work that she had done in herself that made her so strong and proud.

Alas, with utter disappointment and grief, she watched and felt young Billy simply pluck one of her red delicious apples off one of her shorter, lower branches, take a bite, then discard the rest on the ground without seemingly a care. With an unfulfilled yearning deep within her roots, she could do nothing more than watch as young Billy proceeded to run off into the distance, disappearing over the horizon.

While the genders could be reversed in this situation, the meaning is the same: the relationship between Billy and the tree could have been mutually beneficial had Billy taken the time to value the tree and the fruit it had to offer instead of chasing after his every whim and boyish desire. 

When God told Adam "eat everything but that one fruit" in the Garden, I believe His purpose was to teach Adam that not everything that can be seen should be tasted. There is to be discretion and boundaries in our lives that safeguard us, protect us from knowledge which can later hinder or hurt us or, most importantly, hurt those that deserve our utmost respect and value. When Billy embarked on a journey to "taste it all," he began to taste things he had not intended on tasting: disappointment, regret, even discouragement. I bet Billy might even have gone as far to think there might not be anything beautiful or of value left in the world because he had gotten a little taste from everything, and nothing satisfied. nothing left a trace of fulfillment in his life.

I remember when a large, sizzling steak covered in bubbling butter and grilled onions was placed in front of me at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse at my graduation dinner. I valued what was placed in front of me, I spent ample time carefully cutting every little piece, chewing slowly, and tasting every morsel, every bit of juice that squished out with each bite. That steak was not just a simple meal, it was an experience, one that still causes me to salivate when I dwell on it today, ten years later. 

And so should we regard the heart the same. To taste love through constant flirtation, casual interactions, and fleeting intentions might give us a small sample of it all, but we further the desire within to truly feast upon the true, infinite depth of love. In our snacking we might stave off starvation, but we will never know the richness of what was meant to be enjoyed in a deep and savory manner.

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