A few days before Christmas someone gave us two HUGE red mangos as a gift. I love that food is a typical gift in Uganda. I am trying to think of what to compare them to for the sake of size, and I’m failing…but they were at least six inches long.
I didn’t take this picture of our two mangos. This is some generic picture I found online somewhere and I am probably getting in some kind of trouble for right now because I’m not giving proper credit….Please overlook that…
I didn’t think to take a picture of them until after they were consumed. I didn’t realize they were going to contain a lesson that would need a representative picture.
So, back to the day of delivery. I currently have two small boys living with me who basically want to eat anything and everything at all times. (Except Jell-o, which was recently discovered as a pointless endeavor.) Naturally when two ginormous and enticing mangos entered the house, internally they both claimed one as their own…not remembering the existence of another person who also likes mangos.
One little boy immediately sunk his teeth in what he claimed was his piece of fruit. Well, only that they didn’t sink very far. Because like a good gift giver, our friend didn’t give us fruit that were very ripe, but that still had some time to be at their prime. (This is great for the sake of not getting spoiled on their way to our house and to make sure that there is time for them to be enjoyed properly.)
Now we had a beautiful tropical fruit with a small indentation, leaving the inside exposed to the elements. I was irritated. I gave a little lecture on how you shouldn’t immediately start eating a gift that was meant for the family, he didn’t pay attention to the fact that it wasn’t ripe, he probably spoiled it, etc. Then I put it inside a plastic bag, and wrapped it up tightly to see if I could avoid attracting bugs to the exposed portion and possibly salvage the sweet fruit for another day. (As I type this I am remembering that I have a tiny refrigerator and probably should have stored it in there. You know, when you get used to not having something, you forget about its power in these kinds of situations.)
Every day I kept checking to see if they were ripe, and every day they still seemed a little too hard. Christmas came and went, and we still hadn’t indulged.
Finally I decided that the one that had been bitten couldn’t make it any longer. It wasn’t really ripe to my liking; however, the area surrounding the bite mark was getting quite soft. I took out a knife and hacked away…I’m not good at cutting mangos. The guilty child got the piece that was missing a large chunk because it had to be thrown away. The not-guilty child took a complete side. I also had a small chunk. It was nice…but not excellent because it was still a little too hard and sour.
A couple more days passed, and I took out the second red mango. It was time for this one to be enjoyed. As I sliced it up for the boys, I couldn’t help but devour some small slivers for myself. So sweet and juicy!
As the boys were eating their portions outside (they get sent out for all messy snacks), we were talking about how good it was, how we were so thankful for such a nice gift, etc. We also discussed how it was unfortunate that the other mango we ate was not so good…but it had to be cut when it was because of the circumstances.
Do you see how it is important to wait for something to be ready before we take it? When we try to do something before we should or without asking then it isn’t as good as if we would be patient and wait for the right time, huh? As I heard myself taking advantage of this teachable moment while cleaning up the knife and plates, it was as if God was turning my words back on me.
Lisa do you see how important it is to wait for My timing for things in your life? Do see what happens when you to try to push things to happen in your own time and not Mine? It isn’t as good as when you are patient and wait for the right time, huh?
Well shoot. That’s when I realized I needed a picture of these mangos…just as the second child brought his plate to the sink, with the slimy evidence that a sweet mango had just been there moments before.
This parenting role that I’ve found myself in seems to be full of these types of moments.
Honestly, I knew that would be true, though I didn’t know exactly how it would play out of course. For a long time now, I’ve known that if God ever gave me the opportunity to be a parent (clarification: these boys are not mine–I’m just filling in the gap right now) that I’d gain a better understanding of Him as my Father. It would help me to know Him better. But I’m not sure I realized it would help me to be a better child.
A lesson for all of us!