“If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created.”
The day we returned home after my mother’s funeral I had to go to the grocery store to refill our refrigerator. I was in a fog. A daze. The colors in the world seemed a little duller. I went right to the produce section to look for my favorite food. A red, juicy, pomegranate. This fruit is not only delicious but holds a lot of memories for me from years of picking them from my grandma’s tree and eating them with cousins in her back yard.
I was convinced this magical fruit would fill my empty soul and bring comfort. Even if it was just for a minute.
I couldn’t wait to get home, cut it open and see those deep red jewels letting me know it was ripe and delicious, but I couldn’t find them. They were not in their usual spot at the store. So I started looking around the edges, to see if they’d moved them. Not there. I started to panic a little. Could they be out? Maybe they have some in the back? I found someone to ask and they kindly told me that pomegranates were out of season. They were gone. I couldn’t hold back my tears. I tried. I really did. Because how crazy is it to see a grown woman crying over pomegranates in the middle of the produce section?
I don’t think the kind produce man knew what to do about my despair so he told me he’d go look in the back to see if there were any left over. I couldn’t pull it together enough to tell him to not worry about it. To tell him my tears were really not about pomegranates, but about loss. And in that moment I couldn’t bear another one. Not even a fruit. But if I tried to explain, my flow of tears would have turned into a flood.
There were none in the back.
I shared the sad tale of the end of pomegranate season with several friends and the next day I started finding gifts on my doorstep. A bottle of pomegranate juice, a bag of chocolate covered pomegranate arils, and even a few actual pomegranates that had been purchased before they were gone.
If you think pomegranates held a special memory and meaning for me then, you can imagine how I feel about them now.
My kids love them too. If you’ve ever tried to eat one you know they are messy and difficult no matter how old you are or how careful you think you’re being. Just like life.
And if you’ve ever cut into a perfectly ripe one, you know how beautiful they can be. Even breathtaking. They are also messy. No matter how careful you are, they splatter and spill and leave you with something to clean up. Just like life.
I can’t look at a pomegranate without seeing God. Right there. In the deep red ruby of each aril and in the splatter of one that has burst onto the wall of my kitchen. God is in all of it. The beauty and the mess. The light and the dark. In life and in loss. In joy and pain. In every season and experience of life.
How thankful I am for the splatter of juicy love found in every inch of the earth. Even a pomegranate.
Meister Eckhart said, “If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created.” If I may, just for a moment, alter the words of Meister Eckhart? “If my soul could have known God without pomegranates, then pomegranates would have never been created.”