Dad explained to me how much like life this is. They purchased and planted the tree 3 years ago - this is the first year it has yielded fruit. This little tree has been tucked safely away and pretty much no one but Mom and Dad know it's there. They've cared for it, pruned it, checked on it, gone forward without seeing any fruit. Then this year it's producing like crazy! But the only ones who know that are my parents. And it fills them with joy. Satisfaction. Gratitude. And maybe some pride. This fruit tree isn't out there for the world to praise. It doesn't matter that no one else knows that it's finally doing what it was meant to do. It DOES matter to Mom and Dad that their efforts are paying off. As Dad shared with me: There's much in our lives that go unknown, unobserved, unacknowledged. When we're doing things with just the purpose of getting those results - and not to be "honored of men" - the secret joy of success is sweet. As sweet as a beautifully sun-ripened satsuma orange.
One more lesson: A couple of long, thin, but very sharp-thorned shooters were a bit of a distraction as we examined the juicy fruit. I mean, we had to be careful as we reached in to touch the fruit because a prick from one of THOSE thorns would really hurt! Dad went out to cut the shooters off when half-way through the project he realized that those shooters may actually be nature's way of protecting the fruit. Often the very things in my life that seem painful are actually things that are protecting me in one way or another. This gives me new perspective on things that may at first appear to be trials or adversity. Something I'm going to remember forever.
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