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Archive for October, 2010

Fruit Bearing

It doesn’t get any better than sand hill plum jelly, or at least Calvin and many of my family believe that to be true.  Calvin watches the sand hill plum bushes that grow alongside the road near our home and studies their progress like most guys study football.

In the spring I hear how the bushes are beginning to bloom and how the blossoms are so fragrant.  I’ve grown to expect the large bouquets of blossoms that are brought into the house in whatever vase is at hand.  The aroma is sweet and drifts through the whole room. We always forget how many little worms come in on the flowers and drop on the counters causing the bouquet to get moved to the coffee table on the front porch or the picnic table in the backyard.

But the blooms don’t necessarily give an indication of whether or not there will be any actual sand hill plums to pick later in the summer.  We’ve never completely figured out the pattern to the fruit bearing, but after the blooms fall the watch continues….  “The sand hill plums are starting to set on.”  “Looks like there will (or won’t) be a lot of fruit this year on the sand hill plum bushes. ”  “How could there be so many blossoms and no plums?”  “Those plums are so good and tart, you should try one.”  (Tart is an understatement, but he even got a couple of the kids started eating them.)

In the later days of summer the real progress reports come.  “The sand hill plums look ripe.  We’d better get out and pick some.  We could make some jelly.”   “I sure love sand hill plum jelly.”  (Hint, hint.)

Usually I put it off a few days because it’s hot, there are a lot of bugs, the bushes poke and scratch and, worst of all, there is so much poison ivy.  Sometimes a big bucket of plums mysteriously show up on the counter top, but usually a picking party of one or two head out to visit while picking. The fruit is washed and cooked down to get the juice to make the jelly.  This year the juice is waiting in the freezer until the last jar of jelly from last year is gone.

You know that sand hill plum bush doesn’t put out any noisy effort to produce the plums, it doesn’t whine when the fruit is less or more for the year, it doesn’t complain when not producing cherries, it quietly endures the weather conditions and it is generous to the birds and I.

I wonder at times if those plum bushes aren’t more wise than I am.   They are simply doing what they were created to do.  We’re spending some time contemplating that question as we are in a time of transition.  What were each of us created to do, has it changed/shifted in this season of life?   How may we align our lives and work within this purpose as much as possible, allowing God to produce fruit in His way and His time? Seems this is something that one must revisit fairly often in life.  Each time brings more understanding of one’s self and circumstances and provides clarity and focus to make decisions and live in peace.

Dear God,  Thank you for creating each of us with such care, so that we are unique and with purpose.  May we be content where You have placed us and trust You to be present and active in providing opportunity for growth and for bearing fruit.   Help us to root ourselves deeply in Your Word so that we trust You with the circumstances around us and with the fruit that will come when we give ourselves completely to You. Open our eyes to see You at work in us and around us.

Psalms 1


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