Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding the Real Fruit

We just returned from a visit to my parent's house.  It was the Apple Festival at their "next door neighbors", where you can buy some of the best apples grown by God.  If you ever have reason to be in North Garden, look up Vintage Virginia Apples.  It is worth the trip.  The weekend weather was perfect for lying in the middle of their acreage and playing with my girls.  We were able to meet and re-meet many of the friends who have loved on them so well through the ups and downs of life.
I felt terribly thankful.  Almost painfully so if that makes any sense.
For the most part, parents are an under appreciated lot.  I don't think you can fully "get it" until you are one anyway, and each year deepens my respect for my own. 

Tonight I was walking in our yard, strolling past the neglected vegetable garden so overgrown with weeds you would think it had been way more than one season that we completely didn't try. 
None of us are gardeners. 
James, had he been born into another family, could have been.  He is the only one of us so far with the patience said endeavor takes.
I looked at all of the things my dad did in that garden.  The raised beds that once held weed free soil.  The blackberry bushes harvested, planted, pruned (though you can't tell now).  The water barrels placed next to the garden so that James would not have to cart water all the way from the house one bucket at a time.  The garlic and onions gone "to seed", or gone to the rodents, or just plain gone.  Tomato cages rusted.
I wish we had kept it up.  I feel terribly guilty about that. 
It occurred to me however, my father has never once, not ever, expressed disappointment in us over it.  That is just amazing.  And profoundly grace filled.
I guess at 78 you know that it isn't about whether or not the pegboard in the garage actually helped better organize your son-in-law.  It doesn't matter that the 15 pages you printed off of the internet about local fox trappers and snare designs didn't actually net any victories over James's nemesis to the poultry business.  Building Maggie's room in the basement was a relative success, but seems short-lived as she is already gone for good. 
What I think he must know is that it is the being there.  It's the being all there. 
The tasks themselves don't actually have to be successful. 

The fruit isn't in the garden.

It is housed in a weekend where all four grandchildren were equally delighted to spend time enjoying and helping them.

Honor your father and your mother, as the lord your God has commanded you ....
Deuteronomy 5:16


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  3. Great post, as always. Please remember to give yourself that same grace, when, in some future year, you notice that some of your own efforts as a parent don't result in the hoped-for fruit.

  4. Enjoyed reading this post, as always. Learning from what you are writing, and seeing you in the writing, always warms my heart.