For many years I had a problem with fruit. I know that sounds strange, but every time the word "fruit" or "fruitful" appears in a Scripture reading I just want to turn and run away. It's hard to hear when you are a fruitless tree.
For three years I was a fruitless tree, experiencing one miscarriage after another. We did everything we were supposed to; we fed, we watered, we pruned and tended, and month and after month we had nothing to show for our toil. We were left empty, hollow and barren, feeling like we had failed at God's most basic instruction of "Be Fruitful." (E.g., John 15:2)
And then one day I had an experience with an apple tree. For Moses, it was a bush, and for me, it was a scraggly apple tree in my parent's backyard.
It had been a hard year with lots of bad weather and the tree that was normally filled with red apples was almost completely empty, save for a single red apple. I plucked that apple and bit in expecting the fruit to reflect the weather that had a created it: dry, hard, unforgiving.
What I tasted was anything but that.
It was as if knowing that there would be no bountiful harvest of apples that year, the apple tree had put all its goodness into that single, red apple just for me. And then it struck me; the apple tree was still an apple tree, regardless of whether it overflowed with innumerable apples or focused all its goodness into a single, perfect fruit. It was still an apple tree if there had been no fruit that year or if it had gone years without care or pruning. It still was an apple tree if it had only given shade or shelter, or was only just a beautiful reminder of creation. No matter what form its gifts came in, it was still an apple tree.
We are all beloved children of God and we are mighty, beautiful trees in His garden. No matter what form our gifts come in, we are all created to share our gifts from God with the world. Unlimited gifts to create, to shelter, and to nurture in unlimited ways are the fruit that we all can bear.
Take this apple tree image and apply it to your life. Journal or share with a loved one.
Molly Walter is a Catholic convert, wife and mother to two children on Earth and four babies called home to Jesus. She has a deep love of her faith, her family, literature, handcrafts, gardening, and Star Wars. When not working full time outside the home or wrangling her next family adventure, she blogs about all the good things in life. You can find out more about her here.