A tomato plant grew itself in a bath of soil I used to use for some strawberries that never thrived. When I found the branches drooping, I saved two nearly ripe tomatoes that were lying in the mud and looped up the others. I knew that the two on the ground would be eaten by insects. I didn’t know whether tomatoes ripen if you pick them too early, but I was willing to try. My husband, always trying to be helpful, thought I knew something he didn’t know about tomatoes and picked all of them so we had a whole row of tomatoes on our kitchen window sill. Maybe it was just as well. The plant wilted and died within a week. The gardener cut it down to just a stump and one twig has sprouted.
Some tomatoes did ripen. Some went rotten and got composted but two remained stubbornly pale green. A week ago I was making toasted cheese sandwiches and I thought they would go really nicely with a thin slice of tomato. I cut a thin slice of one of the green tomatoes and tasted it. It tasted all right so I used that one up.
Today I was inspired to cook a special breakfast to compensate for not being able to go out for a bacon and egg breakfast with my husband. I got carried away and added fried banana and fried onions to the bacon and egg. Then I thought about fried tomato and wondered whether the last green tomato would do the job. When I opened it, this is what I saw.
Although the tomato had never ripened, the seeds presumably had and were starting to grow. One sprout popped up like a jack-in-the-box. I don’t know what would have happened if I had just left the tomato. Anyway, I planted it, just as it is in the old bath with the one remaining twig of the parent plant.
This is a parable of lockdown for me. Who knows what seeds God is growing in us, unseen and unknown in a confined space. Our church has been meditating on the Fruit of the Spirit during this lockdown period. Let’s hope that when we are finally released from our bubble, plants of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control will spring out ready to help heal the world. (Gal5:25)