Did I ever tell you about my first attempt at gardening? I actually decided to grow cherry tomatoes. From seeds. I bought some big clay pots, along with the expensive dirt. I carefully opened up my little seed packet and sprinkled the seeds around. Then I gently, carefully covered them with the soil, and trickled some water over them.
Day after day, I nurtured those little plants. Before long, I saw sprouts! There were far too many sprouts for one pot. So when they were big enough, I separated them. I had to buy more pots – 52 in all!
The plants grew and grew. Eventually, they got so tall they started leaning, so I bought the nifty little garden stakes. I carefully tied each tomato plant to its stake. My deck looked like a tomato jungle. But I was excited, because I love cherry tomatoes! I eat them like candy. I kept working and working, because I could envision the end results. I knew that eventually, I would have a glorious cherry tomato paradise, and could eat to my heart’s content.
But it didn’t exactly turn out that way. I’m embarrassed to tell you the results, but I will anyway. Out of all those 52 pots, all those 52 green bushy plants all neatly tied to 52 stakes, I got one little bitty cherry tomato! Only ONE! All that work, all those hours of loving labor, and I only got one teeny tomato.
Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
I was proud of my one tomato, though. Mark had helped some with the gardening project, so I offered to split it with him. But he laughed at me! So I popped the whole thing in my mouth and ate it, right in front of him. That’ll teach him to laugh at my misfortune!
That was ten years ago. I haven’t attempted to grow tomatoes, or any other vegetable, since then. Until this year, that is. This year, I decided to get back on the proverbial horse, and try again. I tried full-sized tomatoes this time.
No seeds. I bought established plants. Two of them.
No pots. I put them in the ground.
No stakes, either – I decided to let them roam.
Like before, I watered them and nurtured them, and before long, I saw tiny yellow flowers! A few weeks later, the little green balls appeared. Each day, they’ve grown bigger and bigger, until a few days ago – some of them started turning red!
I must have a dozen or more tomatoes out there on my two tomato bushes, with lots of yellow flowers still forming!
Boy, am I glad I tried again. And I’m so glad I have tomatoes! It took me ten long years to recover from the trauma of my first tomato failure. No telling how long it would have taken this time.
But just think, if I hadn’t worked up the courage to try again, I wouldn’t be experiencing the pride and sense of accomplishment I’m now feeling. The cherry tomatoes would have gotten the better of me. They would have won.
It makes me wonder what other things in my life I’ve let beat me. What kinds of things do I shy away from, because I’ve had one bad experience? Am I afraid of reaching out for new friendships because of one or two rejections? Do I hesitate to apply for that promotion because I’ve been turned down in the past?
Perhaps I should re-think things a little. Perhaps I should take more chances, and not wait a year or ten years or the rest of my life, for fear of failure. I wasted ten years without fresh tomatoes. I don’t want to waste another minute.
I plan to give the little guys a few more days to turn nice and red, and then, I’m going to pick them. I will enjoy a big, juicy tomato salad.
And I might even let Mark have a bite.
1 Timothy 4:15 “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”