I’ve been really getting to know my tomatoes lately. I planted 5 plants this year, and they were late bloomers. But bloom they did – the vines got to be so heavy with the fruit that they were sagging even on their stakes; I had to add supports and prune as more and more blossoms were trying to break through.
They just started ripening in the past two weeks, so I have been enjoying quite a feast of tomatoes. Fresh, organic, juicy and delicious. I’ve been eating them with at least one meal a day; I’ve already made several jars of pasta sauce and salsas, and still there are about 250 on the vines, that gorgeous healthy shade of green.
So, as September is when the weather cools, I’ve been outside with my tomatoes quite a bit. Just about every day, I’ve been checking for the tomatoes that are ready to be picked, I’ve been making note of the ones that should be ready in the near future, and I’ve been watching the progress of the green ones.
And just about every night, I’ve been outside with sheets and blankets, covering up my green tomatoes to protect them from the frost. The plants get a good watering in the afternoon, and in the early evening they get carefully covered up. The blankets don’t touch the plants themselves, but are supported by the stakes. They wrap carefully around the bottom crawling plants to make sure that all the fruit is protected. They are weighted down so they don’t shift or blow away. And, the next morning, once it’s warmed up, I’m out again to remove the blankets so the tomatoes can benefit from the sunlight and heat of the day.
It’s been a long process. But it’s worth it.
It’s worth it because I value knowing where my food comes from and how it’s been grown. It’s worth it because THESE tomatoes are special – they’re proof that I have been witness to, and participant in, God’s creation in action. Through my care, I have seen growth and development, and I know that this will continue so long as I continue my care. I know that had I neglected these plants, they would have long ago withered and died, and not produced the goodness that they now promise.
It’s worth it because I see in my care of these tomato plants the same type of care that God has for me. I know that I need care and attention if I am to thrive in my life, and my faith provides that for me. God sees that sometimes I’m producing good things, and sometimes growth is taking longer than expected, and allows me the time I need to grow. I know that God sees that I need protection and sometimes I need exposure, and those opportunities are provided for me so that I may thrive. I know that God sees my life as a journey; just as the tomatoes don’t grow instantly, neither do I. But I also know that God sees in me the potential of what I might become – and delights when that is realised. And whether the tomatoes ripen or I just find new green tomato recipes, nothing will be wasted – so too God will use every bit of me, just as I am.
And so I delight in being cared for, and known, and appreciated. I delight in being my own little green tomato in God’s care.