"And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi,"Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor. So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. Boaz said to the reapers, "God be with you." They answered,"God bless you." Ruth 2(selected)
Today I began my morning as many laborers do. I rose early and put on clothes I don’t care much about. I loaded my car with boxes, filled my coffee cup and headed to the field…… to pick strawberries. It was a beautiful summer morning, not too hot, not too ‘buggy’. Arriving at the field I found myself surrounded by would-be-farmers of all ages. Small children moved slowly, accompanied by parents or grandparents who guided them in their picking. Men and women picked side by side.Those who owned the farm moved among the pickers exchanging pleasantries with the workers. Each of us were picking these berries for the joy of it, for the experience of harvesting a bit of our own food, for the glory of the morning and because we could. We each left the field with the ripe, red berries scenting our cars with their sweetness and the stain of their color on our fingertips. Whether we made the realization or not, we were a privileged people.
As I drove away from the field, my eyes fell back upon the rows of green where the juiciness of summer lay hidden under leaves. The sun was beginning to warm the patches and I could see the heat reflecting off the ground. Within a few hours the experience of picking these luscious berries would not be nearly as pleasant, the pickers not nearly as comfortable. Across the field, dotting the landscape were the bent backs of the workers.
And then I thought of all the bent backs that bring food to our tables. The workers who fill the fields across this land, gleaning and harvesting fruits and vegetables, many for wages that are below what any of us would work for. These workers are not people who are privileged to ‘play’ farmer as I did this morning. These are the ones who bend their backs to pick the berries I eat in January. These are the ones who kneel in the dirt and soil for long hours while their children work beside them or sleep in shade nearby. These are the workers who toil in the fields because it provides a life and livelihood for their families.
For me, this morning was a gift. I knelt and picked fruit I did not plant or tend. I give thanks for those who brought the strawberries this far and for the privilege of picking them. I pay homage to all those who day after day bend their backs to feed this nation, this world. Blessings be upon you.