When our son Derek was a child he would occasionally ask me to plant an apple tree. While writing this I’m wondering why I didn’t fulfill his request and plant this fruit bearing gem. Perhaps my reasons were lackadaisical or reluctant… sighting lack of funds, too busy, or not being keen on having more trees that we already had,which now seem rather weak reasons for not giving in to his modest petition.
Though my wheels stayed stuck in indecisiveness back then, Derek’s wheels spun with ingenuity, excitedly coming up with clever the idea of planting the seeds from his freshly polished off apple. His small fingers removing the tiny seeds of hope from the exposed core. At the time kneeling down beside him to dig a hole for the seeds felt like that would be good enough… mission accomplished!
Funny how reflective you can get when your kids grow up, as the woulda, coulda, shoulda, rapidly taking root unlike those little apple seeds buried in the resident clay soil; which by the way never saw the light of day. Life however is full of “If onlys” that can easily sprout up ascending over us with towering preeminence, shading us from God’s warming grace.
As I ponder my mothering skills in the pool of reflections, there were areas that sparkled where I loved deeply and selflessly; while other spots appeared murky, clouded amidst my human frailties and brokenness. Though I tried to do my best, I’ve shed some tears at those lost opportunities and have mourned my losses.
Stepping away from these reflections has given me the occasion to ask forgiveness where I have wronged my sons and husband, even the best intentions can, sadly, go awry or be sorely misunderstood. Words cannot express how profoundly grateful I am for forgiveness. God is the perfect example and my husband and boys are a close second. God’s word promise those that have been forgiven much love much. I now love mucho grande! As sweet as forgiveness is I believe restoration is the cherry on top… how can we not love resuscitating a do over? Breathing new life into a past mistake… a little slice of heaven I say!
My mind thinks of that every time I see my “redemption” Pixie Crunch Apple Tree I planted when Derek was sixteen. I made the purchased after reading the following description in the Henry Fields garden catalog: “a favorite apple with children because of it’s flavor and it’s ability to bear reliable annual crops the second season without the need for cross pollinating.” I calculated that Derek would have fruit from his apple tree by the time he was 18, just under the wire of when most kids leave the “Nest”.
While at the age of sixteen, his love for apple trees had been replaced with computers, drawing and hanging out with friends. Now I felt it was up to me to plant this pathetic looking twig all by myself with high hopes this spiny branch would one day blossom bearing fruit of redemption.
To my surprise that sad barren twig brought forth fruit two years later as promised. Nearly bursting my buttons with pride as I gazed on the fruit tree laden with its’ ripe petite apples. With quicken steps, I joyfully made my way into the house informing Derek he could now pick the apples from the tree he always wanted. Ya, about that… turns out he wanted an apple tree to climb in… Wow !! Apparently I never got the memo! Somehow not only did I miss the boat, I wasn’t even near the shore !.
It makes me laugh every time I think of it. Now when I see those small sweet apples weighing down their slender branches I marvel at how good God is. Regardless of our flaws, good intentions and attempted do overs, fruit is still capable of growing out of the soil of our mistakes. Thriving and flourishing because of God’s love and tender mercies . We are God’s children the apple of His eye*, in season and out of season, in sweet success and bitter failures. Let us give ourselves permission to not stay weighted down with past regrets. Instead, let us choose to taste the sweet freedom of a bountiful orchard of grace.
“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple , but only God can could the number of apples in a seed. Robert Schuller