On a corner lot sits a bright pink and turquoise adobe style home. The kind of home that beckons for your attention, yet sits quietly, settled into the earth as cars go rushing by. The other day I found myself stopped at a red light lost in thought. The few seconds I had to spare before the light turned green and life began rushing by again, I glanced over. Pink and turquoise stucco. A single cacti in a delicate white planter sitting on the front porch. A type of small bush-like tree blooming a wonderful red mystery from its branches. “Look,” I said to my friend in the driver’s seat, “that tree is growing tomatoes.” As if I had two green thumbs that had planted a magical field of tomato trees somewhere in the wilderness. Row after row. My friend laughed, “Um, yeah those are definitely pomegranates, not tomatoes.” The light turned green and off we went. Right, pomegranates because those thrive much better growing on trees then tomatoes. Pomegranates, that fruit that I buy when I’m feeling adventurous at the grocery store because I know when I get home the task required to get to the part you can actually eat is going to test my patience. A red pomegranate juice stained bamboo cutting board resting on the kitchen counter after the victory of excavating tiny seeds has been claimed.
Pomegranates, not tomatoes.
Tomatoes are what my grandfather would pluck from his backyard garden. Polishing the plump thing on his flannel that smelled like a New Mexico rainstorm. Taking a bite like it was a delicious candy apple, motioning for me to do the same. Younger me held a small tomato in my hand, unaware that the thing could taste sweet, hesitantly taking a bite as juice ran freely down my chin. A smile, another tomato picked and added to the bowl that would rest on the kitchen windowsill.
Tomatoes are versatile. They can be diced, dried, fried, roasted and sliced. Swimming in summer pasta, resting in between two toasty buns holding a juicy burger, pureed into soup that warm chunks of bread can dive into. Pomegranates are wild. Needing to be cracked, peeled and plundered for the seeds of tangy sweetness that nestle deep inside. Pomegranates take work, tomatoes take creativity.
You see, I think sometimes God hands us tomatoes and sometimes He tosses us a pomegranate. Sometimes all life needs is a little creativity, a choice to take a step back from the mundane, from the nine to five. To see the moments that can be diced, dried, fried, roasted and sliced into something wonderful. To take what you have, in this exact moment, and create something life-giving. With thankful hands and a warm smile. To get up thirty minutes early, to sit at the kitchen table, deciding in those waking morning moments to daily choose joy. To see the worth in your work, to ask about the cashiers day at the grocery store, to rest. But then, a pomegranate. Tough, rough around the edges, needing to be shaped and formed in order to get to the core. Asking for your time and trust. Sometimes life takes patience, trusting God that as you are cracked and peeled in this season there are seeds of goodness waiting on the other side. To listen, to pray, to believe. To know that seasons come and go. To lean into the Maker, the Creator of pomegranates and tomatoes.