Preserving Character
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“Preserving Character,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, 69

Preserving Character

I worked today at the bishops’ storehouse. I watched through steam-streaked glass as sisters, damp with heat, tucked stray strands of hair beneath white paper caps. They were making raspberry jam, crimson preserves heavy with pulp that made me think of pancakes on a cold winter morning. I envied those strangers that would be putting the fruit of this labor on hot bran muffins or scones.

Home again, with my own small part of the harvest, I lifted fruit-filled quarts high against a basement window and saw how bits of light were caught and held in the golden orbs of peaches and dimpled hollows of pears. I pleasured—a little—in the rows of full containers that lined my dusty shelves. How simple. How gratifying it had been in summers past to fill the yawning mouths of these jars with fruit and vegetables.

Could I, perhaps, devise a method to keep the goodness of other “fruit”? If I were wise enough, and prudent, could I preserve patience and put up purity? Could I put courage into cans? If it were possible, I would fill my larder with love—love to give the youth with the uncertain smile, to tame the child’s unruly temper, to forgive the neighbor whose words have unknowingly been a source of hurt.

If I could also put aside some faith, a little hope, and ample charity, I am certain I would take from this supply not just for a year, or two, or three; I would draw upon this bounty through all eternity. Kristine Bicker, Englewood, Colorado