Sunday, September 5, 2010


Every summer for the last several years I have planted a tomato plant in a barrel in front of my garage.  The tomatoes thrive in the heat of the driveway, and each year this plant has been the star of my garden.

June 2010 129 (of course some years it’s been practically the only plant in my garden, but that’s beside the point!)

This year the tomato plant has had a harder time.  It’s been moved from it’s comfortable home several times because of the ongoing house painting, and on at least one occasion part of the main stem was broken. 

Then, to add insult to injury one day in late July I decided to get fancy and apply a foliar fertilizer.  For those of you not in the gardening know, that’s liquid fertilizer sprayed onto the leaves.  It’s supposed to be a really excellent way to fertilize your plants…unless your plant is sitting in direct sun for most of the day and it’s going to be over 100 degrees.  And then it’s a really excellent way to kill your plants.

My poor tomato plant.  It was really hammered. 

The leaves were all crinkly and brown and it looked just like it had been cooked.  Which it had.  Braised in smelly organic fertilizer juice.

I picked off the deadest leaves, tried to clean off the other leaves, and kept watering it.  But the truth is, I didn’t have much hope.  And then I was so busy getting ready to go to the beach, and going to the beach, and recovering really fast from having gone to the beach, and getting ready really fast to go to Utah, and going to Utah, and then suffering for the last two weeks from what Cindy Lynn has aptly termed PVSD.  (Post-Vacation Stress Disorder.)  I haven’t given the tomato plant a second thought.

Until today.

Today we got home from church and I knew I needed to water a few things that I planted yesterday, so I walked towards the backyard.  For some reason I stopped and looked at the tomato plant. 

Much to my surprise, it was looking pretty good.  Lots of new bright green leaves and plenty of tiny green tomatoes. 

September 2010 059 (sorry—it is much harder to get a decent picture now that it’s not living against the plain background of the garage!)

I just stood there for a minute, enjoying the sight of this plant that had looked just horrible a month ago.  There were still some dead leaves hanging from the plant, but these were surrounded by vibrant healthy leaves.

As I looked it occurred to me that this renewal happens in us personally, as well.  Sometimes we go through a difficult period and our leaves wilt and we may even feel like we’ve been baked in stinky fertilizer.  We may feel like we will never emerge from this situation, and that if we do we will surely never feel normal and healthy and vibrant again. 

What a great reminder too me that these feelings are not true.  We all experience trials and adversity, we all have moments where we are feel like a dead plant.  But renewal will happen, if we have patience and keep watering the plant.  New leaves will come and maybe even a new crop of little tomatoes. 

And then one day we will happen to glance at ourselves, and realize that we, too, have been renewed. 

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