Yesterday I had a laugh with some friends. They have a new garden and are a bit lost with what they want to do with it. But hey they have the power of google so all their questions can be answered. One of the things the man asked was , " Why are my plums so small?"
Now everybody burst out laughing, I have no idea why.. I was busy thinking about the tree covered in little plums. I was also remembering the plum tree that grew in the grounds of one of the churches where I was minister. I was also aware of how long we had to wait to get the fruit from that tree. Often I had to pick them when they were still hard and not yet ripe because they were being removed by winds or young lads using them to throw at my hens or each other.
This reminded me of the story of the tree and the four sons.
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted them to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them on a quest each in turn to look at a plum tree that grew out in the far lands.
The first son went in the winter the second in spring the third in the summer and the fourth in the autumn.
Once they had all visited the tree he got them together to tell what they had seen.
The first one told that he had seen an old gnarled and ugly tree that was no use to anybody. The second son said not he had seen a tree covered in buds and full of promise. The third son told of the beautiful scented blossom and the last son of a tree full of beautiful tasty plums.
The man explained to his sons that they were all right because each had seen the same tree but each during a different season.
The essence of who were are, the pleasure love and joy that come to our lives, can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons of our life are over. If we give up in the winter then we miss the promise of our spring and if we allow the pains of life dictate we miss the autumn full of colour and joy.
Sure it is nice to get things in a flash, and we are often told to strike while the iron is hot. However the best things in life are often worth waiting for and savoured in their fulness.
Tomorrow I conduct the funeral of my father in law after a long and full life. He certainly saw all the seasons and life was not always easy but he lived it to the full and certainly knew that patience and the long game was often the best.