At the start of the year, when we decided to move–when I cringed at the thought of ripping out all the emotional threads I’ve sewn into this place–I secretly thought, “Oh! But we will miss the apple harvest! Perhaps we could stay just that long….”
(Be careful what you wish for).
We have two trees, one an eating apple variety, and one a cooking apple variety. The eating apple tree is beautiful and produces some of the most delicious fruit I have ever tasted–sweet, tangy, and flavorful. The cooking apple tree, on the other hand, is like a vertical thicket, and has small, hard, ugly apples. Until this year, we had not harvested from it, as the apples looked so unappealing.
Last year, due to the unusually hot, dry summer, neither tree produced any apples. This was a great disappointment to me. This spring, as I looked at the bounty of blossoms on the eating apple tree, I thought regretfully of the harvest we would miss.
As spring turned to summer, I watched as “baby apples” replaced the blossoms on the eating tree. It was packed! And then, for some reason…perhaps because of all the rain, perhaps because we need to prune the tree…all the apples turned brown and rotted on the branch. There would be no apple harvest, whether we lived here or not. Summer slipped away into fall, and with my last reason for staying here gone, I became very impatient to leave.
September came, and on a whim one afternoon, I walked around the side of the barn to look at the two trees. The cooking apple tree is “hidden” behind the eating tree, so I don’t see it unless I go looking. The eating apple tree had almost no fruit on its branches, and even its leaves were sparse. But the cooking apple tree…it was lush with leaves and packed with round, yellow-red apples. I was amazed. We would have apples, after all.
After such a rainy summer, it took extra time for the apples to fully ripen, but towards the end of September we gleaned almost three bushels from its branches. I was elated. Money is tight right now, and any source of food is welcome. I was somewhat less elated when peeling, coring, and cutting the apples took a week and a half, and canning took another week–fitting it in around the I had other things I had to do, like go to work and do laundry–but at last the apples were processed, frozen and canned.
I have been struggling over the last few months with anger and impatience over our lack of progress towards moving. We feel stuck, and forgotten, and we are tired, and tired of waiting, and tired of being tired. I let this house, which I truly love, become a source of resentment and bitterness. Some wise words from dear friends have helped me change my perspective, slowly. I began to pray for comfort during the waiting, rather than the strength to forge my own way through. And we were given apples…the ugly apples from the ugly tree, which I had discounted–and they softened my impatience and quelled my anger.
Thanks be to God for His provision, and for His softening of hard hearts.
And for ugly apples.