Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pretty or Poison

“Yes this will bear lots and lots of fruit.” Maria chimed the words with her pleasant Hispanic accent. “It’s a very sweet; very, very sweet.”

“Will it bear fruit in the winter?”

“Let’s see.” She whispered as she reached for a tag on the tree. “Yes, November, it will produce fruit starting in November.”

“Well then we’ll take it.”

We brought it home after turning our 2.6 mile trip into 7.2 miles. I knew a short cut to avoid the highway, drive slowly and protect the trees. That didn’t work. After a couple miles of wrong I turned the truck around and went back to the highway.

We made it home with two trees in the bed and four flowering plants in the back seat. We dug, planted and watered.

Nevaeh helping to water

I watched the sprinkler sway back and forth. The leaves glistened. I thought to myself, “I planted a tree today…it’s autumn and I’m planting. Are you supposed to this time of year? For the first time in my life I planted a tree. Others are harvesting. I’m planting. There’s a lesson here somewhere.”

I watched droplets dance on the curled leaves. And remembered what Maria, at The Lord’s Nursery (yeah, I thought it was a cool name too) told us.
“Tiny worms may make some of the leaves a very, very ugly. But it won’t hurt the tree or the fruit. It will just make the leaves a very, very ugly. We have a chemical that will kill the worm but it will soak into the entire tree and the limbs and the fruit. The tree will look a beautiful but the fruit will have a poison. They tell us the chemical won’t hurt the fruit and you can still eat it, but we will not use it. We are organic. We don’t want to ruin the taste of the fruit with the chemicals, so we just leave it alone. It may make some leaves a very, very ugly but the fruit will remain a very, very good. The worms will not touch the fruit.”

I probably wouldn’t have noticed if Maria hadn’t pointed them out. They’re not so ugly anyway. And even if they were, I wouldn’t mind, as long as they bear good fruit. I don’t’ want to pump them full of poison just so they’ll look pretty.

Seems there should be a lesson in all of this. Didn't Jesus warn about outward beauty and poison within?

I'm still pondering these things as I tap this message to you in the wee hours of the morning. The house still sleeps. From where I sit I can see a stuffed puppy, a doll stroller and some other parts and pieces to toys - evidence that grandkids spent the night.With all this mess it's not real pretty – but  it sure is beautiful.

Which reminds me of our tree. Which reminds me of me. Things a very very ugly hang from the limbs of my life, my past and curled in up in the corners of my mind. Do I pump myself with poisonous pious? Or, should I allow the ugly to hang in plain site?

As for the tree I’m going to let it grow. Give it plenty of water and sun and fertilizer. I'll prune the infected leaves. And if Maria is right, it will produce, “a very very much good fruit, a very very sweet.” It may not be real pretty but it sure is beautiful.

My Lord, here we are blemishes and all. We ask You to help us bear a very very much fruit. Good fruit that remains in season and out. Keep us from poisoning our souls for appearance sake. And show us that you can use us – blemishes and all.

 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!


“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness


Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

I love the idea of planting in the autumn. It makes me think: Every season in our life is made for some sort of planting.

Thank you for this.

Linda said...

I am so delighted to meet you Doug. This beautifully written post ministers in many ways. I long to be real so that I might be used by Him. There is always that "ugly" - but He comes to redeem and bring something good out of it all.
Wonderful post!

S. Etole said...

many good points to remember ...

Cassandra Frear said...

I'm a gardener, so I loved this post! When I'm out in a garden, there are so many lessons. I think the natural world reflects our spiritual one, like the moon captures the light from the sun and sends it back through the night sky.