Sunday, October 26, 2014

Unexpected Fruit

“Have you seen what’s growing on your tree?”

“What?” I asked puzzled.

The Japanese dogwood looked normal from my kitchen window. Across the yard its leaves had just a hint to red as fall set in. At least that’s what I thought was happening. My daughter, Heather, had come to help us with some seasonal yard work.

“Come outside and look.” She said. So I went wondering what on earth she was talking about.

But when I saw it, I was amazed! From my kitchen widow what I had thought to be the beginning of fall colors was actually fruit. Strange looking fruit!

“Fruit, on a dogwood tree? This is mystery.” I declared.

Most of the fruit, and there was a lot, was on the side of the tree where the afternoon and evening sun shone brightly. So it was only sparsely visible on the side facing my kitchen window. Another much older Japanese dogwood across the yard had never fruited. I had no idea they would, or could.

I’d never seen this kind of fruit before…anywhere. But there it was!  It was about the size of an apricot, bright red and bumpy all over. Heather picked one off the tree and broke it open.

“It smells kind of like a…peach.” She announced thoughtfully. Then touching her tongue to it, she said, “It tastes, well a little peachy… maybe… only not so sweet.”

“I hope it’s not poisonous.” I said, wary of this odd looking fruit, that I had never seen and knew nothing about.

Later that evening, Heather sent me an email. She had ferreted out information on our dogwood tree’s strange fruit. I laughed as I read the description:

It’s a Cornus Kousa Dogwood, a dog-on good dogwood with large, bumpy, red fruit that looks like a raspberry on steroids.”

Thankfully, it wasn’t poisonous. However, people can’t agree on the taste… sort of like an apple, a persimmon, a peach…all were suggested. Evidently some folks have tried to make jam from it, but said the flavor goes flat with cooking.

Since cooking is not my first love, there is no danger that the fruit will go flat. It doesn’t seem like anything to worry about harvesting either. I’ll gladly let the birds and deer feast on it.

Unexpected fruit!

Sometimes a surprise harvest of fruit shows up in someone’s life, too. Someone may bless you unexpectedly without even realizing it. Like May…she’s a lady in my Bible study group. When we share our prayer requests, May always starts hers by thanking the Lord for a specific current blessing. The rest of us tend to go directly to our requests—our concerns, our worries—but not May.

The other day I told May what a beautifully thankful heart I saw in her, and how it blessed me. So when my turn came around to share requests for prayer, I made my first one an expression of thankfulness, too.

May, said, “Each day the Lord provides so many small blessings, they go unnoticed unless we open our eyes to see them.”

I’d like to do better at noticing God’s daily blessings and gain the fruit of thankfulness in my life. I want to start my prayers with a thankful heart to the Lord who wisely provides all things. Will you join me?

“…for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” (Ephesians 5:9 ESV)