The Rotten Tomato Parable
Once upon a time there was a beautiful garden.
Varieties of fruits and vegetables filled the garden beds: peas, carrots, onions, peppers, squash, blueberries, lemons, and more. Especially noticeable were the towering vines of tomato plants. Tomatoes of all sizes grew in the garden, but there was one stand-out champion of them all.
One heirloom tomato grew so large that it was as big as the gardener’s entire hand. It was huge and heavy!
After it was ripe enough to pick, the gardeners excitedly displayed this massive tomato on the kitchen counter. And there it sat, in all its glory, while the gardeners tried to figure out which recipe was worthy of such a monstrous tomato.
And there it sat. . .
And there it sat. . .
After a couple days, it became apparent that this tomato needed to be eaten soon. Its large quantity of juice was making the tomato soft and somewhat squishy. But still the gardeners procrastinated.
And there it sat. . . . until it was too late.
The beautiful and bountiful tomato was no longer beautiful nor bountiful.
It was squishy and moldy.
Sadly, the gardeners realized their folly at letting it go to waste. The poor tomato had never realized its full potential (which was to be eaten of course). Remorsefully, the gardeners placed the tomato in the compost bin so it could turn back into dirt for the garden. That’s the circle of life for a tomato.
So, as I’ve written before, I love learning via metaphors, symbols, and parables. Details in a story can have different meanings for different people. Even the same story can strike a different chord in the same person at a different time in his or her life. With that being said, obviously the gardeners in this story are my husband and I. We were delighted to pull this massive tomato out of the garden, but I procrastinated the day of its eating for too long. What a shame and a waste!
So what did I learn from this giant tomato?
- One, don’t keep procrastinating celebrating something exciting.
Oftentimes I think that some distant future date will be the best to wear that special outfit, or visit that fancy restaurant, or take my kids on an awesome road trip. But it is too easy to keep pushing that future date further back until the experience is wasted or ineffective. Therefore, enjoy a special date with your spouse now. Take your kids to the water park now. Do those crafts off Pinterest now. If you want to have traditions or memories in the future, start doing those behaviors now. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to make a memory. The patterns you set today are the patterns that will likely stick around years from now.
- Don’t hold onto your possessions so much that you cannot share.
While the tomato sat on my counter, a friend came over to the house. A tomato loving friend. She was happy to take home some of the smaller tomatoes that were taking up counter space. But I held off at giving her the massive champion tomato. In hindsight, I realize I should have given her the tomato. Why? She probably would have used it. As much as she loves tomatoes, that champion veggie would have been eaten super fast. But I didn’t share it. And my pride and procrastination eventually ruined the tomato. The lesson here is to share your bountiful blessings with other people. Share your talents! Sing for others, dance for others, share your financial blessings and your food. Offer to give of your time in volunteer work. Babysit for a friend in need. Sharing blesses the lives of others, while selfishly hoarding a possession or talent of yours results in waste and regret.
How can this tomato story relate to your life?