Minister Jaime Stacy
I have a small garden. Well, it’s mostly tomatoes. Honestly, it’s all tomatoes. My desire to have a garden has been with me for years. Some of the best food of my childhood came from my grandmother’s garden. I wanted to emulate that. I wanted my children to have that same experience.
Having never had a garden of my own, I was not aware of the process of planting and maintaining a garden. You see, I was not present when the ground was tilled and the seeds planted for my grandmother’s garden. I was not present when she pulled the weeds. I was not present when she killed the pests or ran off the scavengers that tried to eat from the plenty of what she had sown. However, I was there at harvest time; when it was time to shuck the peas, pull the greens from the stems, and my favorite, picking the ripe tomatoes.
Nothing compares to the organic taste of tomatoes grown in a backyard. You can taste the sunshine! Bending over to bite into the plumpest, red tomato, in hopes of not staining your clothes with it’s juices that are running down your arm, …ahhh, the taste of my childhood! It is with these memories that I forged ahead into having a garden of my own.
Enlisting the help of friends who are seasoned in the arena of gardening was a must, if I were going to be successful. They quickly let me know that the time for planting seeds had past and I would have to settle for transplants. Transplants? My grandmother didn’t have “transplanted” tomatoes! However, I agreed, in hopes of them producing those same plump, red tomatoes like grandma’s.
The summer was mild. The sun was shy in making its presence known to my tomatoes. Daily I would check them. Finally….flowers! I was excited because I knew that each little flower represented a tomato! Eventually, I began to see little green,round balls. Oh, how my heart smiled! As green as they were, I knew that one day they would be red…and delicious!
July and August quickly passed and the weather began to get cooler. Fall was already presenting herself. What?! Where are my tomatoes?? Examining the plants, I begin to see all the little green,round balls had grown into medium sized green, round balls. Disappointment begin to settle in. I wanted tomatoes. No, I wanted RED tomatoes!
There had to be a reason for these green tomatoes. What had I done wrong? I needed answers. I began to search for an explanation to this dilemma. Consulting almanacs, friends, and experts, I begin to receive the answers to my questions. The fault was not mine, it was the sun. The sun had failed me. The summer sun did not provide a consistent temperature warm enough to produce the beautiful, plump, red tomatoes I had been hoping for. I would have to wait until sometime in the fall to feast upon the bounty of what I had sown.
Often times in life, we are left feeling disappointed. Disappointment is where our experience and our expectations meet. I was doing everything I knew how in order to produce the kind of tomatoes I had experienced in my childhood. When that didn’t happen, I begin to feel disappointed in my own abilities.
Sometimes, we have no control over all aspects of the experience. My expectation of the sun was to aide in producing the best tomatoes ever! However, I had no control over what the sun was going to provide. We are most vulnerable and susceptible to feelings of disappointment when we lack of control over a situation. Our faith is being tested. We are learning how to trust in God. We are learning how not to depend on our own understanding.
Ecclesiastes ch3 tells us “to everything there is a season and a time”. Daniel ch2 tells us that “he changeth the times and seasons”. Whatever this season brings in our lives, is according to His plan. We may want red tomatoes, but God may feel it is best for us to wait. We may not be ready to handle the harvest. Then we, like Paul, must learn to be content in whatever state we’re in. We must learn how to trust in God’s timing.
Someday I will have plump, red tomatoes. As for now, I will be satisfied with having pursued my desire to have a garden, even if all I have are green tomatoes.