When I think back to earlier life and what June meant to me I think of long, hot, sunny days, exams, Wimbledon and strawberries. Nowadays there are no more exams for me thankfully; Wimbledon continues but the weather is unpredictable - perhaps it always was. Traditionally, part of the strawberry's appeal was that its short, six-week season, from early June until mid-August, coincides with the brief, long-awaited British summer. These days, however, the British strawberry season extends from mid-April until mid-December, thanks to the increased use of plastic polytunnels to create optimum growing conditions for many more weeks, and strawberries are imported from abroad all through the year.
When we can have what we want, when we want it we can lose the sense of appreciation that we’ll have for something that’s only with us for a season. If we know something won’t last we don’t take it for granted and we make the very most of every opportunity to savour it and enjoy it.
Jesus once commented that his disciples should really make the most of the time they spent with him, enjoying his company, his life, to the full because the time was coming when his life would be cut short. This is good advice to us to enjoy all that is good in every aspect of our lives, in our relationships, our health, our opportunities, our work or our homes - to really enjoy all they offer here and now because we don’t know what the future holds and when the season might end.
Having what we want when we want it takes away the pleasure and anticipation in waiting. I can well remember the sense of achievement and delight in buying something that I had carefully saved for. However encouraging people to have now what shouldn’t really be available is the spirit of our age. Someone has said, ‘Consumer credit has become the poisoned apple of the 21st century.’ It’s the temptation to have what we want right now without actually being able to afford it and people are deceived into thinking that all the benefits and enjoyment of instant gratification outweigh the stress, anxiety and ultimately disappointment, that getting into debt inevitably brings.
The strawberries that have been forced to fruit out of season are generally lacking in flavour. They’re a disappointing substitute for the strawberry grown at the ‘right’ time.
There’s great value in patient waiting for something good. As we wait we can perhaps be distracted from what ‘I want now’ to think about what others may need now. As we wait we may become aware that others wait too with fewer prospects than us of receiving what they hope for. We may discover that the thing we wanted so much is not so important to us after all.
I hope you have a good summer season, enjoying all the good things it has to offer and do come and enjoy a strawberry cream tea in St Godwalds Vicarage garden on Saturday 8th June from 3pm!