*This post is Day Five of the January Nablopomo 30-day blogging challenge hosted by BlogHer.
I heard a statistic this week. It was along these lines: McDonald’s has grown to be so pervasive in our society that they actually need to check with the federal government before they add a menu item because the additional demand on ingredients will effect the entire national food supply. For example, adding fresh blueberries to their smoothies meant that 35% of the entire harvest of blueberries last year was purchased by McDonald’s.
I’m not sure I am remembering that exactly right and I’m not sure the person who said it had it exactly right, but it makes sense if you think about it.
I was pondering that in the spaghetti bowl of my mind, where noodles of thought often get tangled and entwined, and I ended up at the realization that God strongly prefers fruit over vegetables. Especially leafy green vegetables.
Whether you’re Christian or not, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the idea of knowing a person “by the fruit they bear.” A person who is selfish and greedy in their heart will never create for themselves an environment that is generous and focused toward the well-being of others. Anyone can fake it for a while but, in the end, the “fruit” will always be a reflection of the “tree” upon which it grew.
In the Bible, Paul writes to the Galatians about bearing good fruit. “The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
This is why I cringe when someone screams, “God hates fags!” and calls themselves a Christian. Or when someone trumpets the glory of war, or makes a comment that the poor need to “get a job” and take care of themselves, or wallows in one addiction or another with no effort to overcome. Those things are not the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Now, the Bible also clearly says that we all fall short. Heaven certainly knows that my own personal tree has some branches in desperate need of pruning! But that’s not where I’m going with this today. Today I’m thinking like a homesteader.
On our tiny little chunk of land we have a few fruit-bearing plants and a garden. The garden is where vegetables grow. In the great scheme of things vegetables grow fast. We live in Michigan so our season is only from June-September, give or take a few weeks. In that time we can churn out all sorts of veggies. Some things grow SO fast that we can get in multiple harvests in a single summer. This is especially true of the leafy green stuff.
If McDonald’s decided to do a Kale smoothie (Now there’s an interesting idea!) it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to increase our nation’s kale production. We could be churning out stinky, green, burnt-rubber-tasting plants in a month or two. One reason blueberries are a different story is that fruit takes a significantly longer time to grow. Many fruit trees (vines, shrubs, etc) take several years to mature. It is a long process to bring a plentiful harvest from a grape vine cutting. An apple seedling planted in celebration of a child’s birth MIGHT be able to help provide his lunch when he’s old enough to begin elementary school.
I don’t think that it is a mistake that our attitudes and life-circumstances are compared to fruit rather than vegetables.
As we head into the New Year we all consider changes in habit and lifestyle. I can think of several things I’ve pondered in the past weeks. They are common concerns. I need to be more punctual. I need to be wiser with my money. I REALLY need to eat better (and less) and exercise more. We are all aware of some improvements we could make in our fruit. But it’s really hard to change! Statistics show that after 6 months more than half of us have abandoned our New Year’s Resolutions. (source) I think that happens because we want quick results. We forget that good fruit is the work of years. You can change a fruit tree. You can prune it and shape it. You can even graft different types of fruit onto the existing trunk. But it is a lot of work. It must be done with great care and attention. It can’t be rushed. But the results… nothing in the whole world is better than sweet, fresh, fully mature fruit! It is totally worth every bit of effort.
There are areas of my life that need attention and the beginning of a new year seems like a great time to evaluate and take stock. I’m thinking, though, that my worst habits – from over-eating to gossiping to procrastinating – are going to take more than a single season to change. It took nearly 40 years for the tree of my life to bear its current fruit. I shouldn’t be too disappointed in myself if it takes more than a few weeks to change. I will be an attentive gardener, though, and I will move forward in the hopeful knowledge that success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. (Thank you, Earl Nightingale, for that bit of wisdom!)
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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