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Jeanette Levellie

“Oh great,” I quietly moan as Mr. Demanding enters my shop. “Lord, give me grace to help him without losing my patience.” As the boisterous customer—who believes he’s the only person on earth—yaps his orders, I smile, and pretend to enjoy serving him. I wonder if there’s an easier way to grow the fruit of the Spirit. If only these fruit pinchers would leave me alone . . .

Just when I think my Peace has matured to a rosy shade of ripeness, Mrs. Hateful pummels it by criticizing my husband. Now it lies in the dust of a pity party, bruised and nicked.

Then there’s Kindness. I’ve prayed and meditated on Scripture to grow it into a plump, sweet offering fit for the King. Mr. Blustery embarrasses me in front of three friends at church. I gaze down at a slimy mass of annoyance. Foiled again.

I thought Self-control was coming along nicely. I’d only indulged in one dessert a day for the last three weeks, and hadn’t gossiped in 23 ½ hours. Until Ms. Busybody offered me a plate of fudge and the inside scoop on Mrs. Hateful. How dare she pinch twice!

I could have a basket full of Patient Pears, Faithful figs, and Goodness grapes by now if not for all these fruit-pinching brothers and sisters who impede my progress. I think I need to find a quiet plot of land away from civilization where I can cultivate my own private orchard. Where no fruit pinchers can find me and ruin my lovely crop. Where I can bask in the pride of a well-tended harvest.

Did I say pride? Oh dear. Now I’m pinching my own fruit. Maybe I should revise my initial prayer: “Lord, give me grace to not sabotage my growth…”

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