By Sister Renee Y.
We’ve all seen them. We’ve all ignored them. And we all have a few of them stuffed in our kitchen “junk” drawer. They’re the tough, unassuming little blue fastenings which deliver our asparagus – fresh, direct, minimally processed, appropriately proportioned. A simple – ingenious – unnoticed infrastructure.
Think about it: when you get to the produce stand, the asparagus is already standing up waiting for you. It’s not lying around in a heap like the string beans! It’s already shouting, “I’m ready! You can depend on me!” It has been marshaled to attention by those modest cummerbunds. It is well-positioned on its foundation, its delicate tips protected, its essence preserved.
Aren’t these humble bands the perfect metaphor for a values-based life? Like the delicate asparagus, life too is fragile. It can so easily be injured, broken or stunted. We need supports to hold it upright on its sturdy stumps. We need behaviors, agreements and commitments that will allow us to stand beside our fellows – grounded, balanced and safe. We need a community of “stand-up” guys and gals around us to make our lives livable. And we need to be one of those stand-ups ourselves.
Last week, I left the funeral of one of our sisters deeply inspired by the message of her life. She hadn’t held high positions or carried impressive titles. For over sixty years, she had worked hard and joyously at the works of mercy. She was graced with an unassuming simplicity. Her life was held upright by loyalty, faith, gratitude, respect and love. She “stood up” and beside people when they needed her. And at her funeral, hundreds of those people came to stand beside her.
How many times have we been teased with the question, “What is the secret to a happy, successful life?” Perhaps we notice it in a magazine tagline while waiting at the register to buy our asparagus! But look no further than the little blue bands. Think no further than the basic values which hold your life together. In our choices and behaviors, what we value – what we stand for – is clearly evident and the message of our life is already being written.
The next time you buy asparagus, consider this. The old adage holds true: “By their fruits (or their vegetables :)) you shall know them.”