“Worth the Wait”
Grandma Forgey worked the pile of mulch with her rake, pulling it up in a fluffy mound around the base of the young apple tree. The stirring dispelled the aroma of pine bark mixed with rotting leaves, a precursor of the frost that would follow soon.
“Snuggle in, now,” she spoke to the sapling. “I’m putting you to bed – be lookin’ to see how you awake next spring.”
“I don’t think that tree’s asleep, Grandma – I think it’s a goner, for sure.”
“Appearances aren’t everything, darlin’. Something that may appear to be dead
may really be just resting – just waiting for its time to grow and bear fruit. ‘To everything there is a season. . .’”
“Well, I hope it wakes up with lots of apples!”
Grandma chuckled. “We may have to wait another season for that, but with love and proper care, we’ll have apple pies and dumplins’ before you know it.”
Winter came with its sparkling breath of crystal, wearing an ermine blanket that covered the mulch and the whole landscape with white, wet drifts. A crocheting needle replaced the rake in Grandma’s hand as she sat by the wood stove, working strips of her old aprons and Grandpa’s work clothes into rugs - mosaic masterpieces that would grace every room in her house and ours.
Occasionally, I would see her standing at the window, watching the sapling bend to January’s bitter wind. “Doin’ fine”, she’d whisper through the storm sash.
“How can you tell?” I asked. The tree still looked dead to me.
“I know in my bones, darlin’. God makes no mistakes. When we think nothin’
may be happening because we can’t see it, believe me, He’s workin’ things out on the inside. You remember how we planted those morning glory seeds last spring? We couldn’t see what was happening under that dirt, but that little seed was breaking open
and stretching out its roots, and before you could say Jack Robinson, it . . .”
“It burst out of the ground and crawled right up the trellis!” I chimed in.
It was true. Pussy willow bushes coated with ice would eventually yield to the warmth of March sun and a marvelous transformation would take place. Green buds would bump out of the smooth limbs, grow fuzzy gray-brown beards, then burst into full bloom. Crocus and hyacinth would sprout forth from seemingly barren winter soil, their colorful heads announcing that spring was on her way.
Thinking of what lay ahead, I was impatient for winter to pass. Each thaw brought promise, but another cold spell would come and freeze our hopes.
“Why is this winter taking so long? Couldn’t we ask God to hurry things along.? I want to see all the growing things wake up!”
“It’s hard to wait,” Grandma said, “but most things worth waiting for are better
appreciated when they finally come. The “making” time is as important as the things that are made. Remember that even God who could have created everything with just a snap of His fingers, took six days to make the heavens and earth.”
I thought about that and I reckoned I could wait a few more days until spring. I watched Grandma as she carried jars of peaches and cherries up from the cellar to make Sunday pies and I thought about her pie “making” time. She loved making pies for her children’s families to enjoy. Every Sunday the phone would ring and Grandma would tell us that our Sunday dessert was cooling in her window and we should come out and pick up a pie.
It seemed so easy and natural. Now, however, I considered that making those pies was no snap-of-the-finger exercise. The pie making had started long ago when she planted the fruit trees in the orchard. When the harvest finally came, she picked the fruit, preserved it and stored it for the weeks to come. Then, in the wee hours each Sunday, she would stoke the kitchen stove with wood to heat the oven, mix and roll out the dough, fill the tins and bake the pies. All we had to do was accept the finished gift and savor the results of her labor.
“You know what, Grandma? I think spring is worth the wait.”
“And why is that, child?”
“Because the “making” time is what makes the fruit and flowers and trees so special.”
“Land sakes, darlin’! I do believe you’re growing up!”
And I was.
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