One fine spring, a young couple purchased their first home and, with great pleasure and anticipation, moved to a cottage in the countryside. To their surprise, on the kitchen counter was a letter addressed to them, that said:
Dear New Owners,
I have planted an orchard for you. You will find the fruit to be delightful and satisfying. As I tended and nurtured these trees, I have prayed for you and longed for you to know how very much you are loved by me. Enjoy the luscious fruit, as I have, and may you find it nourishing and enriching every day that you live here.
It was overwhelming to think of the love of the Gardener and the couple immediately began to spend their days dreaming of the fruit to come. They wandered through the orchard in the evenings discussing the apple pies, apple crisp, apple butter, apple blossom bouquets and apple turnovers that would grace their table in the fall. All their hopes and dreams centered around the apples and the delights that each one would bring.
When the blossoms came, the couple delighted in the fragrance and smell of the new life on each tree. They did create bouquets and drink in the fragrance. Their hopes and dreams blossomed too and they began to invest time in watering and caring for the trees.
However, as the summer came and the blossoms faded away to show the fruit that was developing, the couple began to complain. “These are not apples!” , they exclaimed with frustration. “We were expecting and planning for apples! Why did the Gardener leave these?” They grew discontented and began to neglect the trees.
Despite their neglect, the trees began to bear fruit: gorgeous, plump, juicy peaches. Each peach was sun-ripened and bursting with flavor. The couple no longer came out to the orchard, so they didn’t see that precious fruit was reaching perfection and then beginning to rot as it was not picked and eaten as intended.
The couple stayed bitterly in the house each evening complaining about what “might have been” “if only”.
One dusky evening, the Gardener stopped by the little cottage. He introduced Himself to the couple and invited them out to the orchard. He said that news of their discontent had reached his ears as they had spread their unhappiness about the orchard to others in the community. He led them to the trees and showed them what was left of the glorious fruit He had meant for them. Though many peaches had already fallen, rotting, to the ground, many others were still there waiting to be made into peach pies, peach crisp, peach cobbler and peach jam.
The Gardener said,” Dear ones, I know that you have always longed for apples. But I did not tell you that these would be apple trees. You decided that apples would be the only fruit that would fulfill you. You never imagined that any fruit could be sweeter. You had only ever eaten apple pie, apple crisp and apple turnovers, but what if I told you that peaches are even sweeter? What if the peaches that you overlooked are even better than the apples you coveted and dreamed of all through your days? Taste and see the goodness of the peaches that are right in front of you, waiting, all from My glorious abundance meant for you! Stop looking for the apples and eat the peaches. “
The couple knelt with the Gardener and repented of their neglect and disdain of the peaches. They asked forgiveness of the Gardener for rejecting His gift to sustain them. As they rose and embraced, it was a new life with many delicious moments.
Dear One, are you overlooking the peaches while you long for apples?
Written by Teresa Janzing…based on a comment by Jeanne Crumly.