Living in the lush tropical paradise called Jamaica we are blessed to have fruit trees growing almost all year round and so its easy to anticipate whatever fruit is in its specific season. Cherry is a wonderful little fruit that is round and red when ripe and is very delicious when blended to make cherry juice. It can be blended with pineapple or our Jamaican apple and gives a really great caribbean flavour that’s intoxicating and almost addictive when tasted.
I noticed midway last year that some nice little additions to my cherry tree were evident all over the branches and root of the tree. These flowerless but nice little blossoms were everywhere on the tree. I thought “wow, these little blossoms are so nice and the many clusters of them look quite decorative on the tree”. Honestly, they reminded me of little Christmas tree treats used to lively up one’s tree during the Christmas season.
After a while, something began to bother me though, because my tree is normally loaded with cherries but for some reason it looked dry, brittle empty and cherry-less.
So I went to my husband quite concerned.
“Baby, what’s happening with the Cherry tree? There’s hardly any cherry on it. It looks dry and thirsty. That is quite unlike it to not be bearing. Do you know what is going on with it? I saw some nice little blossom thingy on it. I think it should be producing much more since its blossoming now”. (Cherry trees don’t exactly grow blossom my dear reader but I never knew that).
My husband replied “Sweetheart, those blossoms are not blossoms at all. They are actually parasites that are feeding off the tree so they themselves can live. The more they feed the more the tree will die. They are slowly killing the tree dearheart”.
“What? Eyes wide open, appalled and devastated, I responded… “so those cute little things are actually pretty little killers?”
“Oh no. Poor tree” I said fighting my tears.
“Now you feel sorry for the tree right?” He said, smiling and reading me and my face like an open book.
My eyes welled up. He hugged me realizing my tears were not far from my cheeks. I couldn’t believe it. All this time, I thought those cute little blossoms were helping the tree but in reality they were killing the tree. They feed off the life of the tree. In order for them to survive, the tree must support them surrendering its life whether it wants to or not. They are invasive, parasitic and lethal . I could only imagine what the poor tree must be undergoing. They were choking the very life from the tree. This tree that once bloomed and flourish with pride was dying and there was nothing the tree in of itself could do to survive. It needed help. Help from something or someone greater than itself. Everyday I would go out and try to pick off as many as I could. They were sooo many and most of them were higher than I could reach. Also the limbs makes your skin itch big time when they come in contact with you. All those factors put together with the attraction of bugs and mosquitoes that the warmth produces were working against me helping it further. I lamented for the tree almost daily. It’s like I could feel the tree’s pain.
During the Christmas holiday, I was so tired after all the work that naturally comes with Christmas. I went in and took a nap. I awoke to smoke and was quite concerned “Smoke…my son…my husband…wait, where is everybody?” I ran almost frantically outside to hear my husband talking with someone and I was thoroughly amazed.
My husband brought a chair outside, stood on it and was pulling every single one of those little monstrosities off the tree. Those little murderous fiends… and he made a small fire; burning them to ashes. Yay! My heart bursted and overflowed with gratitude and love for this man. He said “Surprise Baby!” He had been out there for the last two hours diligently pulling, tugging and scraping every last one of them from the tree. I was ecstatic and speechless. He was bruised, bitten, battered and banged up pretty good. There were scrapes and cuts and swellings all over him because when the tree touched his skin and he scratched it, it became swollen. I was so grateful I couldn’t say a word but smiled broadly. I joined him in picking up the ones that did not yet fall in the fire. I enjoyed watching the little suckers burn to dust… those, those, little hellions. When he was through, I had to nurse him back to health. Sanitizing the cuts and stuff but I was so overjoyed, I didn’t mind his usual whining and whimpering about every little bruise. This time, the whimper was well accepted. Smile.
Everytime I think of this incident it reminds me of my Jesus. Our sins act like those parasites. They look good on the outside, (sometimes even cause us to feel good or justified) but underneath they are slowly killing us bit by bit. Our unforgiveness, our lies, fornincation, rebellion, jealousies, puffed up pride, lusts, cheating… a mean you name it. All these things that make us feel good, but underneath everything about us – the real us, is being lost. We can’t help ourselves in our own strength (although for some reason mankind think they can fix themselves). We need Someone higher than us to do so. We need Someone who is willing to pay the cost in blood, sweat and tears to set us free. Well like my husband did for this tree, Jesus did for us. He took all our sins and washed them all away with his dreadful suffering on the cross just so you can be free, flourish and bloom in your purpose. He loves you and wants you to be free to live life to the fullest in His grace. He wants us to thrive…
My tree is now blossoming and I smile to myself when I realise just how much on a daily basis the tons of cherries that are ripe and are ready to be eaten. I mean – DAILY! Its flourishing even more than it use to and I believe it is its way of saying thanks for freeing me to do what I was created to do. It now provides much needed vitamin C for me and my family, others, insects and birds too. Its wonderful to live life empowered and purposeful.
Now my son can reach up, pick, wash and eat. Isn’t it great to be free on the inside as well as the outside?