Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Middle East: The Promise of Fruitfulness

What is important is how well we love. God will make our love fruitful whether we see that fruitfulness or not.  
                                                           --Henri Nouwen

If only people could be more reverent toward their own fruitfulness. --Rilke

Why not go out on a limb? That is where the fruit is!

A view from our compound pool in late May. I aspire to eat one of these dates at the end of the summer. Ha!
A blog about this same tree last summer: The Metaphor of the Raining Dates
Today I happened to glance up at a bunch of growing dates in a tree. The small green sprigs hung like nests in a few large clumps dangling from the upper branches. In the harsh, sweltering heat of the Middle East--during the hottest summer months--fruit actually grows on trees. The sweetest manna of fruit, the date, ironically grows as if in a burning fire here.

One would rightly assume nothing could grow in such abundance in this blistering air. Nonetheless, the date palm trees flourish with a harvest in late August/early September. The sweet and luscious dates plop to the ground in all their splendor. Often there is not much water that nourishes them in this Middle East furnace. Yet, these date trees magnificently produce one of the main staples of the region--the delicious and healthy date.

As I looked up and saw the verdant olive-like fruit above me in the date palm tree, I could not help but think that even in the heat of affliction, there is always hope. Maybe the fruit requires a long season to ripen or bear.  But the objective and lesson of life are: we plow with hope, sometimes when we feel or only see scarcity around us. When the good ground seems spare or cracked, we still believe the rain will come--even in the stifling heat. We work, cheer, encourage, and wait--knowing the promise of fruitfulness is there buried in the roots. The bumper crop will come. And we will be astonished at the arm-loads of abundant fruit that we will carry from the harvest.

Trees cover the ground after the Christmas season in Malaga, Spain. There is such an abundance that pruners must come in and cut some of the branches for fear the branches will break off with all the explosion of fruit.
Joseph and our friend, Mitch, near an old olive press in Provence, France near Voix. 

Olive orchards abound in Provence, France--waiting for the harvest in Decmeber.

A gardener in the late autumn near Lake Como, Italy. She was so pleased to still be arranging flowers from her garden in late October...

In Sierre, Switzerland where my daughter and her husband lived--there are vineyards in every crevice and corner. Orchards intertwine and surround the villages all over the French section of Switzerland--always a reminder that a harvest is coming...

The abundance of olives in a Morocco market

At a market in Tangier, Morocco--the place where tangerines were named after. I have never tasted better citrus in my life than in Tangier and Spain--and I am from California. I think I ate three-five a day while in these countries.

A Syrian man who I support at his fruit stand. Although his variety is not abundant, the fruit he sells is alway sweet and delicious. Lesson: There is never a meager offering. In the paradigm of scarcity and fruitfulness, fruitfulness will reign every time.

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