Saturday, October 10, 2020

When the going gets tough, pineapple your way through it all

Pineapple juice splashes across the cutting board, threatening to drip onto the countertop. The rhythm of the knife is steady as it tears through the tough skin and exposes the vibrant flesh. My two young sons scamper in circles nearby, excitedly anticipating the first bite of this sweet treat. I continued to slice the fruit, listening as the knife makes a gentle thud each time it hits the cutting board. Another wave of juice flows towards the counter, and I glance at it, annoyed. While the smattering of juice and pineapple scraps isn't the worst disaster in the world, it will still be another mess for me to  clean up. 

However, I willingly stand there, the counter's edge nudging my third-trimester-belly, and continue to slice, chop, and distribute these glowing gems of tropical goodness. Though it would have been far easier to simply open a can of pale, limp pineapple, I remind myself that the joyful experience of bright sunshine and delicious flavors bursting in our mouths is worth the extra time and mess. Underneath all of the thorns and tough skin is an incredible fruit, one that will bring sweetness and excitement into the stressful moments of the week. 

Days later, I find myself huddled behind a computer screen in my bedroom, listening as a therapist advises my prenatal and postpartum group on coping with feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. As she compassionately walks with us through our struggles, she discusses the importance of not believing that these difficult moments will last forever. She reminds us that they are only a phase and she encourages us to find something positive in the future to look forward to. Over the coming days and weeks, I think about her words. I realize that I need to see beyond the tough, thorny skin of these difficult periods and persevere. Things can--and will--get better. With prayer and trust in God, I just need to pineapple my way through these challenges.
It is around this point in my life that another pineapple comes into view: one held by actor James Roday Rodriguez as he portrays fake psychic detective, Shawn Spencer, on the show Psych. What begins as a pleasant activity to help me care for my mental health becomes a time of reflection as I ponder the importance of humor and perseverance.  

I notice that no matter how many dead bodies are lying around, and no matter how grim the circumstances may be, the characters don't get bogged down in the darkness. Their jokes, comradery, smiles, and willingness (at least where Shawn and Gus are concerned) to use quirky methods indicate that there is always hope.  Even when they are dealing with a mastermind serial killer, they work together and try to keep each other from despair. Thus, they pineapple their way through the puzzles and murders, disagreements and trials that fill each episode.

Even the rather stiff and inflexible Head Detective, Carlton Lassiter, demonstrates this in his own way. When he falls in love with a particular woman, major obstacles to the relationship arise. Yet, he exhibits dedication, some out-of-the-box thinking, and hope as he leaps over these roadblocks, keeping the end view--a life with this woman--in sight. 

As I think about the ways in which the characters of Psych often push through or rise above their challenges, images of St. Paul enter my mind. A zealous Christian missionary, St. Paul endured tremendous sufferings. He was beaten, imprisoned, and eventually beheaded. Yet, when we read his various letters in the New Testament, his words are full of joy; a joy that is rooted in hope of life with God. Instead of falling into despair and focusing only on his sufferings, St. Paul looks beyond all that. As he writes to the Philippians: 
"I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:14)
You know that's right. 


  1. I appreciate this, Anne Marie. I also love Psych and am going through a "difficult phase."

    1. It is so good to hear from you, Krista! I'm glad this post could benefit you :) I will pray for you as you work through whatever challenges are coming your way.

  2. Another lover of psych. Im glad I'm not the only one that likes to find deep meaning in (apparently) frivolous shows

    1. YES!!!! That's awesome that you love Psych, and it is fabulous that you also like to find that deeper meaning. I think it's neat that there can be tiny glimmers of Truth tucked into different shows, "seeds of the Word," as Bishop Barron would say :)