raspberries leave me lusting for the juice in life

by rebecca on May 16, 2010

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       I’m participating in Momalom’s Five for Ten series. To read more lusty stories visit them here.

       Today raspberries are my altared space. They helped me find my more-chasm.  (I had the correct word written, but then thought about the spammers.) I denied myself the abundance of raspberries until a good friend showered me with them. That’s when I began to taste the juice in life.

       I’d go to the grocery store and look at the raspberries. Red. Juicy. I loved how they all lay together in the carton bumping into one another, like it was a party there in the produce section; a place to belong.

       But I failed to put them in my cart. Raspberries are expensive. It feels indulgent to fill my daily produce quotient on such a wild card. An apple. A grapefruit. These foods gave me some weight to justify my expenditure.

       So I’d pass up the raspberries and put Snickers bars into my cart because I have a sweet tooth.

       I have nothing against Snickers bars. Why do you think I buy them?  But I can’t get intimate with a Snickers bar. They are full of sugar that has been refined and refined until everything natural is extinct.  

       Raspberries are real.

       How do the little bumps of those berries stay together? They are not sewn. There is no sticky corn syrup holding those bumps together. It’s magic. It’s magnetic. The bumps belong to one another.

       But they’re fragile.

       If I put a raspberry on my finger and push too hard, it falls apart. This fragility makes it all the more delicious to me.

       Intimacy is a fragile thing too. It is lumps of moments held together: like a hug from my husband while I’m slicing onions or watching him help with our teenager’s homework at the dining room table.

       Intimacy is crafted in the tangle about money and the wrangled solution we finally arrive at 3 days later. It is his legs in my lap while Steven Colbert rambles past my bedtime.

       I don’t know why but I’m a sucker for the mundane like when I chase him out to the drive way after he’s left and ask him if he’ll pick up milk on his way home, and then there is that one extra kiss goodbye. These are the things that make me fall in love and feel like I am part of something the way all the bumps in a bowl of raspberries are magically glued together.

       I have a life full of raspberry bumps, but when it was time to play hide seek with my more-chasm I left the raspberries at the store and brought only Snickers under the sheets with me.

       Sometimes I want the relief of something fake. I want to check out for a moment because even a good life can be exhausting. In the moments after meeting a work deadline or a long day in the garden a Snickers bar is exactly the right thing because it is escape for my mouth. I check out and fill with relaxation.

       When it comes to my O, checking out is not the best plan. Checking in makes for easier seeking in that elusive game.

       By leaving the husband-moments of onion slicing and money tangles, wrangles and eventual solutions out of my bedroom I could only taste Snickers bar sex. I just couldn’t bear to bring those moments into such a vulnerable place. I could be a body and go through the, albeit pleasurable motions. But I lacked that bumpy, juicy belonging I craved.

       I don’t think of myself as a materialistic person. I hate shopping, especially for clothing, so I always considered myself above such things. But I’m not. The spiritual and the physical are as intertwined in me as my intestines. I sleep with a soft blanket and feel God’s presence.

       Growing up, sensual pleasures were served to me like Snickers bars: refined and refined and refined until they’d lost all their juice. Sin was my main course. Guilt was the abundant fruit. By the time we got to grace it was just a bandaid, much like a Snickers bar. Grace allowed me to check out of the misery of my own depravity temporarily, but, eventually, I’d have to go back to the real world of food piled high with reasons to confess.

       A more-chasm, at least for me, is not a thing unto itself. I mean it’s fine and all. But I’m looking to make love. I’m rarely there to check out for a minute and get a fix of pleasure to help me escape the rest of my life. I’m looking for the beginning: that place where love is born.

        I found the connection in the grocery store. My dear friend went shopping with me one day and watched as I did my regular pining over the raspberries only to pass them by. “Why aren’t you getting raspberries? They look great.”

       “Oh, they’re expensive, and you don’t really get very many mouthfuls for what you pay.”

       “But clearly you love them.”

       “I know, but it’s not a good value.”

       And this is where I just couldn’t have been more wrong. Spending $10 on a mouth full of something you adore is superiorly more nourishing than 10 mouthfuls for $1. This is because the juice lingers.

       The same friend bought 4 pints of raspberries that day and we went home and she said, “They’re all yours. Eat them any way you want.”

        I ate them daintily one by one. Then with abandon by the handful. Finally, I ate them through tears. Relief.

       It was Grace. Amazing Grace. The good things? They’re yours. Eat with abandon. Eat because it pleases you. Eat because it’s your favorite. Don’t count the cost.

       This is what Love is. However I might succeed in articulating God it would go something like this.

       I Lust after raspberries because I crave a juicy life. I want that more-chasmic feeling punctuating my days. That’s what Love does. It wakes me up. The world is sensual for a reason.

       When I began eating raspberries with abandon my O was no longer so elusive. I’m not going to say I can find it all the time. I was well indoctrinated as a child: Lust and Love don’t belong in the same sentence let alone the same body.

       But the gentle Love of raspberries is teaching me something different. It’s teaching me Life is a place to be happy. Life can be juicy and it’s OK.

       Here’s what I’ve learned from raspberries and my more-chasm: intimacy grows from sensual joy. Sometimes I can’t get my whole self to arrive under the sheets and then I have to be satisfied with Snickers bar sex.

       But when I can be willing to be fragile, to let all the bumps of me arrive in that vulnerable place, it’s red and juicy and it feels like Grace. Connection. Love. That’s because it’s real and not refined.

       And then I belong. Like a bowl full of berries.

 

       Do you ever struggle to bring all of yourself under the sheets?

 

Momalom

 

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn M May 16, 2010 at 10:33 am

Wow. This is an amazing post. I LOVE it. I don’t know what else to say…I’m just blown away. Thanks for sharing.

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Heather of the EO May 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

What a great post. I absolutely love the layers of analogy here. And yes, I do struggle (a lot) with bringing my whole (bumpy) self under the sheets. And I’ll be thinking of this now, reminded to choose raspberries…rather than Snickers.

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rebecca May 16, 2010 at 11:19 am

Heather,

I was eating raspberries as I wrote this. On purpose so I’d stay real. Now I’m so exhausted I just want a Snickers…and it’s not even noon. I think it’s hard to be that bumpy self, ESPECIALLY under the sheets.

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Christine LaRocque May 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Really loved the analogoy. You did a fantastic job of making such an important point and reminding me of my own joy for berries! Thank goodness berry season is only a few weeks away. 🙂

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michelle May 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm

the analogy was brilliant….and i too often settle for a snickers bar.

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Corinne May 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm

This took my breath away, because it’s all so true. Especially the last bit – it’s like you’ve been in my head 🙂

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Anonymous Mommy May 16, 2010 at 9:18 pm

This was so good. Your description of why you love raspberries is wonderful. I won’t look at them the same way again! I am so curious about the theological underpinnings of your post. I’m looking forward to reading more from you and plan on checking back regularly.

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SuziCate May 17, 2010 at 7:49 am

Love the analogy. This was beautiful, snesual, and powerful…an incredible piece.

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Yvette Francino May 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

You always do such a good job of finding just the right metaphore to explain feelings.

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to enjoy berries or Snickers bars for entirely too long! Confucious say: “If one is starving, one is at risk for eating anything.” 😉

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Jane May 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm

” I Lust after raspberries because I crave a juicy life. I want that more-chasmic feeling punctuating my days. That’s what Love does. It wakes me up. The world is sensual for a reason.”

I especially liked this part. Great analogy. This is a great post.

I can’t wait for berry season. To sit in a field and pick and eat freely ;D

Thank you for this!

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Anonymous Mommy:

I think it is my theology that most influenced this post. I appreciate your checking back because, as with most people, it’s difficult to sum up such a huge thing into so few words.

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Jane,

Now I’m curious: what will most allow you to pick and eat freely?

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joely May 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I would have never thought to describe it as snicker bar sex but that is good stuff. I have this theory that an orgasm a day keeps the wrinkles away so sometimes I have more snicker bar sex than raspberry. But I know that keeping the fire alive can be like homework and working out, you don’t feel like doing it but once you do you feel better. After being married for 15 years it is hard to find time for the raspberries and I wonder if they will ever grow again. I do my best knowing that you have to nurture the soil and have a good bit of sun light and nourishment to get the raspberries. I think I will start thinking of it that way. Everyday I am keeping the soil healthy for the raspberries to grow for now.

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Kristen Truong May 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I don’t know if I’m hungry or horny… GREAT post.

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Kristen @ Motherese May 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Thank you for this delicious post, Rebecca, and for introducing to us a new vocabulary for sexual fulfillment. (As much as I adore your raspberry metaphors, I am partial to strawberries myself…hmm, so what about chocolate-covered strawberry sex? Now that would be something!)

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Kristen,

As usual you’ve given me something to think about. I didn’t even think about eating the Snickers and the raspberries at the same time…and though a true raspberry would include the pleasure of a Snickers… there’s something about actually having them side by side that makes me want to ROAR.

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Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point May 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm

This speaks to me: “The good things? They’re yours. Eat with abandon. Eat because it pleases you. Eat because it’s your favorite. Don’t count the cost.”
Though raspberries are expensive, they are seasonal and can’t be enjoyed in the winter so, yes, eat like there’s no tomorrow.

I found you through Momalom’s 5-4-10. Your site is gorgeous.

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Belinda,

Thanks for stopping by. I hope plenty of raspberries will come your way this season!

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Allison @ Alli 'n Son May 17, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I LOVE raspberries and the way you used them here. It’s so fitting. Great post.

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karal May 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm

SuzeCate at The Water Witch’s Daughter sent your link to me today. I’m floored by this entry. wow, what a way with words, and thoughts, and emotions, you have. life has thrown a few cherries at me lately (and one big rotten squash in the way of a friend’s death), and i realize all the negative emotion has led to a compromise of self … too many snickers … too much yuck. time to expand, to open back up to life, so I spent $6.00 on a 12 oz basket of raspberries today. thanks for being my symbolic celebration of lusting for the good juice of life.

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rebecca May 17, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Karal,

I’m sorry about the squash you got tossed and the glut of snickers. But I’m so glad you splurged on the basket of raspberries. I’m celebrating with you. And if there are seed leftover from that squash… I’m feeling that grief too. Thanks so much for coming by. I headed over to see what that orange chair of yours holds right now.

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Stacia May 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm

“Life can be juicy and it’s OK.” Mmmm,now, that’s delicious! =>

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Eva @ Eva Evolving May 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I LOVE raspberries. But that’s not really what your post is about, is it?!

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rebecca May 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Stacia,

For so long I was taught that a juicy life cannot be a holy life. I think I’m rewriting that script with raspberries. And Love. Wild complicated Love.

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Sarah May 27, 2010 at 6:26 am

(shh, let’s not mention that I’m days late on this one. still catching up on five for ten posts)

this: “to let all the bumps of me arrive in that vulnerable place” and then this: “And then I belong. Like a bowl full of berries.”

It was a long winding road to get to these little bits, but so well worth it. A bowl full of berries is indeed a bountiful, luscious thing. There are many days when my bowl is empty, but I think now that I have that Snickers-bar imagery, I will dins myself heading to the grocer to replenish a bit more often.

Love this. So thick and twisted, and yet so simple, really.

Thank you.

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