Leaves blister brown in the late summer heat, exhausted from the struggle to live. Smothered by eternally blue skies, they wrinkle like destroyed leather. The cucumber vine, once lush, shrivels into one long, crisp stem that snaps beneath my careful tread.
But the passion fruit – the secret kept through June, July, August, September – the slow-growing tendrils that wrap tightly to the railing burst into bloom today. The delicate details of blossom, petal and pollen a reward for patience and diligence.
Daily I checked the soil, occasionally sprinkled fertilizer, and always tested the moisture at the plant’s base. Yet, over so many months, while the tendrils lengthened and twisted beautifully against the aged wood of our deck, the plant refused to flower.
I perused gardening websites, read articles and blogs to determine the cause of my inability to coax a bud from the stubborn thing, only to discover that the passion fruit is ‘tempermental.’ Do what I might, there was no guarantee it would bear fruit.
Yet I continued tending it, and the vine lengthened. It glowed a brilliant light green in the summer twilight. The healthy leaves whispered with the occasional breeze. The other plants in my little garden began to succumb to the changing seasons, and I settled into acceptance of never seeing the vine bear fruit.
Until, overnight, a handful of blossoms burst into white promises. Then, the number doubled, tripled.
After diligent care and persistent progress, the vine may still bear fruit – when the rest of the summer harvest is long dried up, this stubborn little vine has not given up.
And so may it be with our own lives, with our faith, our dreams, our goals. May we persist, tend, plan, and cultivate these things diligently – even when there is no promise of fruit.
And then may we find, on some inconspicuous day, that our faith, our dreams, and our goals have flowered three-fold into riotous blessings.