Two summers ago, my husband decided that he wanted to grow tomatoes. We ventured to the local home improvement store and purchased some small cherry tomato plants. He was very faithful in watering the plants, removing the bad blooms, and keeping the tomatoes healthy. That summer we had fresh cherry tomatoes on all of our salads! Though I didn’t do much to help in this venture, I still loved the idea of us growing our own food to enjoy.
Fast forward one year, we didn’t go to the store and buy a tomato plant. We didn’t put the effort in, so we didn’t enjoy homegrown tomatoes that summer. Things were busy – we had a new baby at home – so we didn’t feel bad about the lack of fresh produce. This summer, guess what? We didn’t buy tomatoes this year, either. We moved a few months ago, so tomatoes were not on our radar. Once again, we were planning to go to the local produce section for our salad fixings.
So, imagine our surprise when vines started up from the pot we had used two years ago for our tomato plants. Turns out, that every once in a while, there was a rotten tomato on the vine. Maybe we didn’t get to it in time and it turned squishy. Maybe a bug got to it before we did. Either way, we knew that this was not a cherry tomato that we wanted to eat. So, we would pick it off of the plant and drop it in the pot.
When we saw the beginnings of that tomato plant creeping back up this year, we realized that it was these rejected tomatoes that had done the work. What we thought was garbage and wasn’t worth saving actually has turned out to benefit us.
The tomatoes helped to reinforce an idea that I hope to never forget. Lost causes can still have value. Relationships can be repaired. People can change. The bad apples (and bad tomatoes) in our lives can still bear fruit. We may have to be patient, and we may have to give it time to germinate, but it can happen.
You may have heard the adage, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but no one can count the number of apples in a seed.” Well I can tell you, it’s true for tomatoes too. Spend some time with me, and think about the lost causes or damaged people and relationships in your life. Could they still possibly bear fruit?