The ‘Soul’ Purpose of Fruit

The 'Soul' Purpose of Fruit

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)” The sixties rock group The Byrds put the words to a melody… “There is a season (turn, turn, turn)” The Byrds memorialized the words in a song…”And a time for every purpose, under heaven.” But King Solomon wrote it…”To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to plant and a time to reap.” Everything has a season and a purpose. Rosemary has long been a symbol of fidelity and remembrance. It was often used in the holiest of Christian ceremonies, the wedding, and the funeral. From Queen Elizabeth of Hungary in the 14th century’s healing of her arthritis using Rosemary or its simple use as a diuretic, Rosemary’s sole purpose is simple and unchanging; bring forth and yield a harvest of healing to all those who look to her for help.

From our gardens to our own lives, there will always be a harvest. The law of reaping and sowing knows no boundaries. Whether the seeds were sown are natural or spiritual, this law will produce only what you put into it. A farmer does not plant one kernel of corn in the ground then curse the ground for not bringing forth an abundance of corn. He understands that what he sows is what he will also reap. Sow sparingly, reap sparingly. Sow bountifully, and your harvest will be bountiful. Obviously, you cannot reap where you have not sown.

Soon after the War for Independence, our fledgling republic was floundering in a sea of disgruntlement.

The military was unpaid, the economy was unsound, and the enemies abroad were frothing at the mouth to once again seize the New World back into their hands. It wasn’t long before Washington’s generals were determined to crown George Washington king of the new nation. On March 10, 1783, George Washington heard, through a letter, that his generals, with or without him, were now calling for a military coup d’etat. Five days later, Washington was meeting with his fellow officers, trying desperately to change their minds. This was not what they had fought for and this was not the expected harvest of the American struggle!

His words fell on deaf ears and sullen looks. His plea looked like it had failed. Finally, in one last attempt, Washington began to reach for a letter out of his pocket that showed support would soon be on the way from congressmen who wanted to help. As he reached and fumbled in his waistcoat pocket, he pulled something out that only his intimate friends had seen him wear. It was a pair of eyeglasses. As Washington looked around the room he explained, “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.”

Where all of his rhetoric and pleas had moments before fallen upon deaf ears, in this one moment, his fellow officers recognized the man who had led them all so far and long. Instantly, their eyes were swollen with tears. Washington finished reading the letter, walked out, mounted his horse, and rode off down the road. As his officers peered out the windows at the disappearing figure on horseback, they voted unanimously to support their leader in a peaceful approach to solving their problems. The harvest of one man’s life helped to secure the planting of an entire nation.

As I look over my herb and vegetable gardens, I cannot help but contemplate the majesty of it all. From the simple garden plot to the dynamic interactions of international affairs, the law of reaping and sowing reveals itself in history over and over again. The fruit gained from any harvest, whether the reaping is personal or national, can only be equated to the seed that has been sown. The history of the world is littered with the shadows of many a great men and women. Some of them were mere takers and gathered only from this world to fulfill their greed and power. Yet, there were some who gave back and even though they have long left this terrestrial island, the harvest of their toil is still available for all who are willing to reach up, pick, and eat.

It doesn’t seem too long ago that spring with all its promises had just arrived and we were hoeing and digging up the fallowed ground of winter’s past. But as faithful as the sun is to ascend over the eastern sky, so is the changing of the seasons. Winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, and now we find ourselves falling into autumn.

There is a certain feeling that comes with autumn and although I, as a runner, with the southerly winds giving way to northerly gusts, can definitely feel the changing winds, this is not the feeling that I am talking about. Autumn is a time of triumph, a time of rejoicing, a time of reminiscing, and a time of thanksgiving. It is a season of looking back and enjoying the fruit of one’s labor. It is a fulfillment of a vision that poured out in drops of sweat on that first spring breaking of the ground.

I can remember tilling the ground and I could already taste the fresh mint tea that I would eventually seep in a hot cup of water in the fall or the first bite of that fresh organic tomato. Yes, way back in the spring, I already envisioned the harvest of my investment. The time, sweat, and energy would be worth it all!

Now, the season has changed. The summer has passed and the harvest is upon us. The plants have endured the rigors of the seasons. The fruit that now hangs from my plants has made it through the depths of late frosts, spring rains, and hot summer suns. From rabbits, groundhogs, deer, and insects my plants kept to their specific ‘calling’ and have now come forth to yield its fruit. Every plant has faced a myriad of adversities to produce what was long predetermined in its seed. They have finished their course and have endured all for this one moment; to be chosen so others may live. They have fulfilled their purpose.

Soon the autumn leaves will fill our gardens signaling another harvest’s past and I cannot help to wonder if this same simple principle shows up in my own life. Forty-seven years and one hundred eighty-five seasons have come and gone. If I were to be opened up like a tree, the rings around my life would show it’s share of the different seasons; pain and joy, tragedy and hope, fear and love. All wrapped up and contained within a fragile human being called me. The law of reaping and sowing has not left me behind and neither could I avoid or elude it. Another season has passed, the harvest again is here and I wonder…Is there any fruit hanging from the harvest of my life that others may desire to pick, eat, and live?

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