“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (not from Bob Ross)

a fruity story

For most of my twenties, it was a part of my identity to be someone of great ambition. (The other part depended on the weather). Within that framework, I developed a strategy to create distance between myself and everyone else -- to become virtually undisturbed -- so that I would be able to single-mindedly aim at achieving a few goals. 

Oh, and it worked. 

The amount of chaos I brought upon myself drove a wedge between me and everyone around me, including my dog. My perfectionism was merciless. My goals became narcissistic. My words were harsh. Even if I had to literally crawl to work (which I desperately attempted when I was days away from giving birth with a torn ankle), it had to be done. And, I did it, but I was burned out, isolated, and, frankly, quite angry. I was completely withered. 

Then, sitting on my living room floor in the quiet of 2 am one wild Friday night - baby and husband asleep - I discovered the joy of drawing silly things. Acai bowls, a slice of pizza, half an avocado, etc…  

Then came a croissant, a carrot, a shrimp, and a head of lettuce.

I used colors in ways I didn’t think would look great and sometimes they really wouldn’t look great. I tried to draw Bob Ross. That didn’t turn out great, either. 

But sometimes they looked so beautiful in my eyes that I would feel tiny pulses of pure child-like joy in those moments. To turn a blank page into an everything bagel with just a few strokes of a pastel was nothing short of a miracle.   

I began to realize that I had become unidentifiable as a Christian. Aside from my regular church attendance and lack of substance abuse, I was just another road-raging, worldly attention-seeking, passive aggressive 30 year old woman. There was no love and kindness in me. I had zero peace and negative patience. My gentleness was akin to that of a tornado. Self-control? What was that?

So began Starfruit, as both a reminder and proclamation of my faith to eagerly desire and enjoy the fruit of the spirit and of the womb. Star – the name of my yet-to-be-conceived second daughter Evelyn 별 (“star” in Korean). Fruit – beautiful, wonderful gifts of the Spirit. 

I draw joyfully because I can live joyfully. 

My illustrations don’t belong at the Louvre (although, they may consider the Bob Ross piece) but they were created as my own offerings of praise and worship for all the Good that He’s done and is doing and will continue to do. 

And if He thinks that’s better than all the van goghs and mona lisas in the world, that’s all that matters.

Priscilla K. Suh