Monday, September 21, 2009

Fruit Takes Time to Ripen

Have you ever thought maybe you needed a time out? Just a little break from the routine--a reprieve from the mundane, thankless, draining tasks you do every day? I've often had the feeling that if I could just come up for air, drink in a little sunshine and fresh oxygen, I could dive back into the pool of motherhood I feel I'm drowning in and actually swim on top for a while. Thus, this past weekend, I took a time out. Literally.

I drove to Logan, and with a dear friend and former mission companion, I went to an event called "Time Out for Women," sponsored by Deseret Book. These events have been held all over the country throughout the year for many years, but this was my first experience going. I now hope to make it an annual vacation, as the break was great and the experience wonderful!

"I'll come home a better wife and mother," I promised as I waved goodbye to my husband and children and escaped to my waiting car, leaving them to wonder what to have for dinner . . . and breakfast the next morning. . . and lunch after that. I really didn't know for sure what to expect, but I had a feeling it would be worthwhile. And it was. Although I wish I could share the whole meaningful experience, I've decided to just share one thought I came away with. Emily Watts, a noted speaker and author of many successful, humorous books on motherhood shared this thought:

Fruit takes time to ripen.

Okay, so what does that have to do with motherhood? Well, let me tell you. Let's say our children are the fruit. It takes time for them to learn who they really are and become who they can really become. Some fruit takes longer to ripen than others, and that's okay; either way, every child requires a lot of nurturing, care, and love to become who they were really meant to be (so, if your child seems to be the slow-to-ripen type, don't fret; he/she just may not have hit the ripening season yet--there's still hope).

Isn't that a wonderful idea? I thought so, too. But then, as I kept pondering this metaphor, something else came to mind. Thinking of each of my own four children and wondering about which "ripening" stage each one is in, I couldn't help but picture innumerable experiences we've had together as I worked to nurture and care for each one in helping them to reach their potentials as children of God. And with each experience came the realization of what I learned in the process. I've always hoped to be a light to my children, to lead them down the path of goodness and happiness, but what I never could have imagined when I began this journey, is what they would teach me in the process. Through my experiences as a mother, I have learned more about love, patience, endurance, organization, service, humility, and so on, than I ever thought possible.

So, I'm beginning to realize maybe I'm the fruit. And my children are really the caretakers, nurturing me and helping me become the woman I hope to truly become. And sometimes that ripening process is quite painful--for all involved. Emily Watts noted that during her hardest times with her children, she looked back and found that is when they were ripening the most. That's the beauty of God's plan for families. The harder we work together, the greater the harvest, and during times of deep struggle (weeding), if we keep focused on what matters most and help each other, we will find we have ripened significantly. And one day, I believe, we will become a delicious fruit, and it will all be worthwhile.

Until then, I am grateful to four children who are patiently (and not-so-patiently at times) grooming me and tutoring me, teaching me valuable lessons that I need to learn to one day be fully ripened.

And as far as my kids go, on those days when I wonder if they're simply a "bad apple," I now know I only have to be patient and with the proper care, even naughty fruit can ripen and become irresistible!


Melanie said...

What about the flies? All I did was a couple bushells of peaches and I can't get rid of the pesky flies...they have to fit into that metahpor somewhere! I'm so glad you got to go, what a wonderful thing. I snuck into your entry way today during pre-school and left some homemade granola on your little bench. I would have left a card saying happy-day visiting teaching..but I'm just not that prepared! I hope the head-aches are getting better...please call if you need anyting!

Ange said...

Thanks for the reminder!
I sometimes get stuck in the 'bad apple' stage of thinking, and don't stop to remember that ripening is a process!
Loved it!

The Martinez Fam said...

I still wish I would've gone with you. What a great post--another thing to ponder all week 'til I can read your post next week!:)

Julia said...

Lori, You're awesome! I hope you are doing well. We are thinking of you and praying for you. Love you!