Bearing Fruit

A couple of weeks ago (or maybe even longer; my sense of time means nothing anymore, because it’s May, and our evenings hold at least two or three different activities each night, requiring much racing back and forth, and hither and yon, until I’m exhausted and utterly confused about where I need to be and at what time), our pastor talked in-depth about bearing fruit, and how we, as Christians, are called to do this. He went on to say that he’d planted an avocado seed, by shoving three toothpicks into the side of it and placing it in a glass of water, and it had grown.

And eventually it bore fruit.

And sometimes, he said, we need to nurture what we have, so that we, too, can bear fruit.

The following day, I found an email on my computer from my friend, Peggy, who said, “I came home yesterday after church, and we had avocados for lunch. And all I could think about was, ‘Bear fruit,’ so I smacked some toothpicks into the seed, and I’m going to let it grow now.”

Since I am an enormous fan of the avocado and literally consume at least one a day (You think it’s a joke, but it’s not! My lunch seems to consistently be made up of whole avocados and chunks of cheese these days!), I have been pitching seeds out, right and left, but Peggy’s email and Pastor John’s sermon stuck with me.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I plunged three enormous toothpicks into an avocado seed, and I put it into a cup of water. I’ve diligently refilled the water levels each day, so that the seed is constantly surrounded by the life-giving substance. I have nurtured it; I have given it optimal conditions for growth.

And today, when I really looked at the seed, I saw that it had split open! I was so excited, because I’ve only actually gotten an avocado seed to grow roots once in my entire life, and that seems to be quite a number of years that I’ve collected behind my name now.

But this morning, I was excited to see the split in the seed, and I looked very closely at it.

And it was growing mold. Pink mildew was literally oozing right out of the split, and the whole seed seems to have rotted plum to death, even though I did everything right!

Clearly, I hope that this is not a reflection on my life!

In other news, we finished our soccer season this evening. And when I say that “we finished,” I literally mean it, as it’s been a family affair, getting the boy to and from each game and cheering him on until we were all hoarse and in dire need of hot lemon tea.

(Don’t ask me to grow you a lemon tree; it’s obvious that I’m not producing fruit at my house right now.)

The boy’s soccer team finished with a perfect record.

We never won a game this season.

Oh, we tied twice. And then we had to chalk up six incredible losses next to our two ties. And you know, I’m not sure how on earth we managed to lose them all, because our little blue-and-gold jerseyed team put every ounce of effort they had into playing. The boy and his buddy, Enzo, came so close to scoring a goal together tonight, I thought I was going to cheer myself into a frenzy! The two of them had the ball together, right in front of the opponents’ net, but they had three defenders on them. The boy and Enzo passed it, back and forth and back and forth some more, and when they finally had room to shoot, it hit the metal side of the net’s frame and ricocheted out of bounds. They were so close.

And my throat ached from the cheering I did for those two boys.

Yesterday, the boy commented to me, “Mom, this has been the worst soccer season ever!”

Immediately, I began my pre-rehearsed speech on how it doesn’t matter if we win; it’s whether we had fun playing, and whether we worked well together as a team, and whether we gave each game our very best. My speech was definitely fine-tuned and ready to go, even though it might have been filled with cliches, and when I started it, the boy interrupted me and said, “Mom, it hasn’t been the worst season ever because we’ve been losing; it’s been the worst season ever because no one ever brings snacks for after the games!”

Guilty. As charged.

The coach didn’t pass a sign-up sheet around for treat patrol this season, so moms never knew who should bring treats. The first couple of games came, and we had some snacks, hand-picked and delivered by moms who cared. The second couple of games came, and we were snackless. Moms felt guilty. Moms vowed to do better. The very next game, we had something of a full-on treat buffet, as most all of the moms brought something, and the boy needed a shopping bag to haul the apples and oranges and cheese-flavored crackers and Gatorades home in.

And then, nothing. There were never any snacks after that Snackpalooza.

So Mam, bless her heart, left the boy’s game at half-time tonight, and she whispered to me, “I’m going to dash out for ice cream bars. These boys have worked hard this season, and they need something special for their very last game.” Mam was back fifteen minutes later with a bag of Dilly Bars. Mam understands little boys. Mam knows their love language.

When the boys shuffled off the field after the game, with their sad faces over losing yet again, we met them on the sidelines with ice cream.

And the entire team’s mood turned around instantly. The boy couldn’t pass out ice cream bars fast enough, and every boy was clamoring for one and laughing, and suddenly, it didn’t matter that they’d lost all eight games this season; there was ice cream! And that was enough.

After inhaling his ice cream bar, the boy immediately asked me, “What’s for dinner tonight?”

I told him that we were headed home to make tacos. He shrieked out an enthusiastic, “YES!” and pumped his fist in the air.

Twice.

Because the boy and the homemade taco are like Superman and his cape.

Close.

So close, in fact, that the boy ate four tacos tonight. People, I don’t know where he puts it, but our fifty-nine-pound child can eat.

Unless I make tuna noodle casserole. On those nights, he hangs his head and whispers, “I’m stuffed,” after picking out three noodles and wiping them completely clean of any debris, like bits of celery and onion flakes.

And, because I ate the last avocado for lunch today, we didn’t have one to put on our tacos tonight, which was a genuine bummer.

Especially considering the fact that I can only grow mold when I attempt to grow an avocado garden.

I may need a refresher course on bearing fruit.

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