Each fall, after a season of nourishing others with its fruit, plants goes dormant. As a bitter and biting season emerges, trees slowly transition into self-preservation. Those trees spent a season growing. They spent a season providing. And, each fall, they spend a season surviving.
Let’s consider what would happen if your apple tree attempted to produce fruit throughout the year. Just imagine what would happen if your lovely tree thought to itself , “This winter, people will really need me. This year, I don’t need to take care of myself. It would just be selfish to move from vibrant and producing to dormant when the individuals around me are so hungry for my fruit. They have so much going on their lives, so now isn’t the time to stop providing for their needs. Plus, they could get mad. And I would never want to disappoint anyone.”
(I just finished watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for the first time. I know, I'm late to the game and I just don't even want to hear it from you. So badly, I longed to read the books first. BOOKS ARE ALWAYS BETTER. The first hundred pages of the trilogy were just incredibly boring that I never made it through. And, thus, never watched the movies. I made it out of adolescence unscathed and sans an Orlando Bloom obsession, so you can all just let go of my cultural deficit about now.
Anyway, I would appreciate if you used the slow-moan tree-thing voice in you mind as you read the people-pleasing tree’s statement above.)
If all winter long, your sweet strawberry plants attempted to feed you, it could never survive. Living beings cannot always produce fruit; it just isn’t sustainable.
So why do you and I expect that of ourselves?
As a believer, I am told to “be fruitful,” and scripture describes a healthy believer as one who “bears fruit.” I think it’s important to realize something about bearing fruit – it only happens for a season. I have a sneaking suspicion that God knew such a tiny fact when he repeated the vine/fruit/tree metaphor eight-zillion times in his precious word. But, it’s so easy to believe we are not doing enough. Our seasons of “pruning” and turning inward can seem selfish, especially when those around us appear to need us to keep pouring into them.
Earlier this year, I reached a point of feeling like I had nothing left as I gave my all to others. I couldn’t pour into another child, friend, or stranger by the end of that period. It was a hard time, a time of exhaustion, but also a time of beauty. I left that season of fruit bearing knowing full well that a time or pruning, growing, and rest was needed. If I had continued to attempt to nourish others during that time, I would not have survived. We, just as plants, cycle through seasons of survival and flourishing.
Certainly, winter ends. I must be careful to keep my season of turning inward transition to season after season of selfish comfort. At some point, I must do the hard work again. A forever-dormant tree is a dead tree.
A forever fruit-bearing tree will be a dead tree.
Darling, are you flourishing or surviving? Are you giving of yourself when you have no reserves left? Hear this: Your pace might not be sustainable. Give while you can and must, then take your seasons for pruning, growing, and surviving.
Hello, Friend, I’m so glad you’re here. I tried to write a professional little blip in the third person for this very location and failed. Miserably. Repeatedly.
I’m Danielle. Delivering photos to clients that accurately capture their story in beautiful photographs makes my heart sing. And, while I enjoy photographing my own children, I love getting away to shoot lifestyle sessions around Minnesota or hunker down in my office to write. My husband, children, and I live our beautifully messy lives outside the Twin Cities and I wouldn’t trade it. Contact me if you are looking for a Documentary or Lifestyle photographer for your family, senior, or newborn. I accept limited sessions, but would love to get your more information.
Danielle Geri Long
DanielleGeriPhotography@Gmail.com || (763)670-7657