Where I'm going with this, I'm not sure. I just liked the title. What I am sure of though, is that I have failed in my first attempt to grow tomatoes.

My well tended seedling quickly grew to be almost as tall as I am--and is still growing. It is covered with yellow flowers, and every day there are more and more of them, but only one small tomato, which has not grown or changed in appearance since my post and pictures a couple of weeks ago. Even the bug waiting to take that first bite has long since given up and hopped away.

According to Dr. Google, who I consulted about my plight, the bountiful harvest of tomatoes I had eagerly anticipated is not about to materialize. It seems I coddled my plant too much.

On the other hand, its stunted and neglected brothers and sisters back at the camp are just teaming with tomatoes. Go figure!

Could the lessons be something like all that glitters is not gold (not even golden flowers that are supposed to turn into lush red tomatoes), or appearances can be deceiving, or don't count your chickens (or tomatoes) until they're hatched? Hmm!



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort, who comforts us
in all our troubles, so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the comfort we
ourselves have received from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Well, it started out innocently enough. A passing twinge of resentment at an e-mail that failed to thank me for something I had done--not even an acknowledgement of it. But then that was par for the course where this person was concerned--and others too. And now the twinge became more than a passing one as I started thinking about other people I had sent things to who had failed to acknowledge receiving them either.

At this point I decided I had better get back to work before my thoughts became totally unbridled. But that was not to be. The Internet was down, and a little demon perched himself on my shoulder, gleefully pushing buttons that filled my mind with hurtful memories from the past. As each one resurfaced, it triggered a bunch more, and soon I was partying with anger and resentment at all the wrongs done to me (both real and imagined) from as far back as the day I was born and disappointed my mother by being a girl instead of the boy she had hoped for.

Things were starting to get a bit out of hand, when I was rescued by an unexpected phone call from a good friend. By the time I got off the phone, the Internet was back up and I decided to check out some blogs before getting back to work.

One friend's post piqued my interest in another one posted on SmallGreenRiver's blog. As I scrolled down, the header Bam Bam caught my attention and I started to read it--including the comments. What was left of my pity party came to an abrupt end, as I shamefully realized how petty it had been.

Hurting people hurt people, but God can turn it around for good and for his glory. Like Joseph said to his brothers, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done..." (Genesis 50:20)

So thank you, James, for not deleting those comments, devastatingly painful as they must have been for you to read. If you had, the Lord could never have used them to shock me back to reality. And who knows how many other folks he may have ministered to through them as well.



Several posts ago I showed a picture of the little tomato death camp survivor I had adopted. A well-intentioned friend told me it didn't look like a tomato plant to her, and this view was confirmed by some chuckling neighbors who found it amusing that I should be spending so much time and energy on what looked to them like a fast growing weed. Even I was starting to have some doubts, but continued nurturing it anyway.

Well, as you can see, it is a tomato plant after all, but maybe an overly coddled one, for it's not near as fruitful as it's more neglected sisters and brothers still at the camp.

Although it has grown big and tall, and is covered with many little yellow flowers, only one tomato has shown up so far. And who is that strange bug lurking in the background? He seems to have taken up residence on the railing--sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other. Hope he's not waiting to take the first bite.