Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)
- TITLE: Cup-Up
By Sarah Frase
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
After a few minutes a sort of sense memory kicked in and you could spread and turn the halved fruit by instinct, without thought, but by touch alone. It was the last station on the line in the plant, and it was called Cup-up. Your hands touched and turned the few erring fruits that remained skin side up, turning each peach so the cup shape was up. This was important because with the fruit facing up it was now open to the sulfur spray and the sun that would work it into the dried form they would pass into the hands of hungry children. A peach that was face down would apoxy itself to the weathered wood and have to be scraped off as well as having been wasted.
She had been three days at Gleanings for the Hungry, in Dinuba just southeast of Fresno. Three days of standing on her feet most hours of the day, processing peaches in a loud outdoor plant shaded by a tin roof and cooled only by the industrial fans and the occasional mist of pressurized water when the line stopped. Three days of letting her clothes become sticky and crusty in turn from rotten peach, and her hands become raw and splinter-ridden. Cup-up was doubtlessly her favorite station on the line. The pace was quick and there was something satisfying about seeing the peaches at the end of their journey through the plant, from the massive plastic bins to the full trays the forklifts would carry into the sulfur tunnels for the night.
That morning she had worked in the field, stacking trays of now dried fruit with her partner, while the taller volunteers laid out the trays of the peaches they had processed the day before. And again they had to cup-up, because the fresh peaches had been jostled on their journey from the plant to the field. Every peach on every tray in rows of twenty. Thousands of peaches. Kneeling or bending over in the blazing sun. Cup-up. Cup-up. Cup-up.
But it was none of these things that she found her mind returning to now, standing on the line, turning the peaches over beneath her palms. What she could not shake, was not the ever-present image of a peach, it was the pictures from the video that morning. There they were. Mal-nourished kids. Their eyes so large and their skulls and arms impossibly small. And then came the pictures of them six months later, even three months later after being fed. Transformed, redeemed. Now they were no longer pictures impossible inhuman things with sorrowful eyes, they were the children of your next door neighbors, children you see in the aisles of the grocery market, with round full limbs and faces up turned and smiling. Against her own will she was crying when she saw those pictures. What the darkness of starvation could not call out of her the joy of their health had wrung effortlessly from her heart.
As usual she was wary of her emotions. She could serve diligently all week, right before God without feelings. She didn’t really want to have an emotional reaction. It was not that she was cold, but rather because she felt too much that she had wanted to skip that experience. Looking around her no one else had been crying. Why couldn’t she be normal?
And yet every touch her fingers testified, it was not a peach she was brushing but the cheek of a well-fed orphan. Every upturned curve of a fruit was a mouth smiling as the child peeled the sticker off with curiosity and pleasure and began to eat the dried peach. She could work and deny her body daily, and do it all unmoved. The peaches would still reach the children. God would still do a work. But the moment she had cried she had begun to understand, it wasn’t just her service but her heart that He wanted that week.
So she prayed, “Make me cup-up to your whole work Lord. Always cup-up to You.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.