lessons learned: tomato cages and friendship

Last night, I had the honor of presenting to a United Methodist Women’s unit in Spartanburg, SC. In my time there, I was reminded of the value of female friendship. Thank you, ladies, for your hospitality and grace.  I’m reposting this one in your honor. ~cameron

The past couple of months, I have experienced the unconditional care and support of friends.  Sometimes, if you are lucky, you find people who take you as you are. I consider it “grace” when they experience it all, love on you, and accept you in all your brokenness anyway.

I am reminded of this meditation from several summers ago and wanted to repost it as an expression of gratitude.  ~cameron

Last night, a handful of us headed over to the community garden at our church. You see, our woman’s group decided to become the seed planters, literally and figuratively speaking, for a new ministry with and in the community.  It is a “baby step” project with commitment, faith, and dreams that will carry it beyond this first year of poor soil, weeds and groundhogs.

My goal last night was to create chicken wire cages to prop up the tomato plants heavy with fruit.  We’ve had rain the last few days, and if you know anything about tomatoes, all that water creates food filled with juice.  Between Saturday and yesterday, the plants appeared to be heavy in mind, body and spirit and called out to me, “Help!”

I was the first to arrive and began working on the project on my own, and not so effectively I might add.  If you’ve never unrolled chicken wire, it can be a doozie to keep straight without the help of another person.  That statement doesn’t even capture what it’s like to cut it in pieces.  They snap off, flying every whicha way so that my legs this morning look as if our cat used my body for her scratching post.

After a bit, however, a friend arrived.  Yay!  In no time, we were working together to unroll, cut, and place the cages then tie up the tomatoes with twine.  With the help of two other women and two budding little farmer girls, we steadied 32 plants by the end of the evening.

Before we left, I stood at the edge of the garden.  I thought about those tomato cages and how they are like friendship.

Sometimes, life creates situations that leave us heavy in mind, body and spirit.  We become droopy and fatigued, wondering if we can bear the weight of it all.  Then come our friends.  They can’t take away the burden, but they gather around us and prop us up–through kind words, gentle hugs, quiet reassurance, and mindful prayer, helping us to grow and blossom and lighten our load.

produce.annies apricot tomatoes

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