Nine years ago my husband planted an apricot pit in our flower bed. No one was more surprised than him when it actually sprouted. When it grew to be nearly three feet tall he moved it to a spot right up against the brick wall on the southeast side of the house where it would get the morning sun. Apricot trees don’t normally grow in our part of the world. Our winters are often harsh and the summers can be short. Even so, it grew and last year it was covered in blossoms in the spring. We wondered if the fruit that was forming would actually ripen but by the end of July we were able to pick the apricots. We had enough fruit to eat and to make jam for the winter season. This environment is hostile to apricot trees but the brick wall makes all the difference. It shelters the tree from the elements and reflects the sun’s warmth to enable our tree to thrive and bear fruit even in harsh conditions.
Whenever I look at that tree I am reminded of my own life. We live in an environment that is often hostile to all that we believe as Christians. If I choose to stand apart and alone it becomes exponentially more difficult to live a fruitful life. People are important. There are times when, like the wall, I may need to offer someone shelter from the elements and if I can reflect the warmth that is God’s love for them, it may make all the difference in helping them to thrive. Of course, like the tree, I also need to let people get close enough to offer that kind of support to me.
I’m thankful for the people in my life. At times I may be the tree and at other times the wall but in every situation it is relationships that make the difference and allow me to grow.