by Jasmine Johnson
Lugging bags of Publix groceries and a giant animal print suitcase through the parking lot, I could feel the humidity seeping through my thin shirt. No Minnesota summer could have prepared me for this kind of heat.
Geckos shorter than my index finger skittered across the sidewalk. As I trailed behind my mom and new boss, I could not help but gaze at the sun breaking through the overhanging branches. A light breeze rustled the leaves above, making everything sparkle.
We stopped halfway along the path to my new home, as one of the agricultural interns, Imanuel Feodor, delivered the three of us some newly ripened lychee. Feo smiled, handing me the vibrant red fruit. He declared that no intern should go through her first day without trying some produce from the farm.
I accepted his kind gesture, but gulped in nervousness at the thought of putting this supposedly edible object in my mouth. For most of my life, I have tried to avoid any unusual foods. Berries have been eliminated from my list of enjoyable foods, so the thought of consuming this rock-hard raspberry terrified me. This fear continued to grow the longer I held the lychee, but I knew I could not live in a bubble of familiarity forever.
Feo taught us how to squeeze the rough exterior to reach the fruit inside. Looking at the gooey substance within, I could not help but picture the body of a slug emerging between my fingers.
Against my best judgement, I popped the foreign blob into my mouth. It turned out to be a unique mixture of sweet and juicy unlike anything I had ever tasted. I struggled to chew around the giant seed, but it was worth the few bites of unexpected deliciousness.
As I begin this storytelling adventure, I keep that lychee seed as a reminder to explore outside my comfort zone and discover new things. Growing is a slow process, but each intentional step draws me closer to a bolder version of myself.
Although my faith is much smaller than a lychee seed, Matthew 17:20 says, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Swallowing my initial fears and setting comfort aside reminds me to trust God in every circumstance.