There are two fig trees outside the window where I sit in the quiet each morning before my children rise. We moved into this home in the fall and one day when the children and I were exploring our new yard we discovered underneath one of the trees’ abundant leaves one ripe fruit.
Eagerly, we picked it and I divided the soft flesh into tiny bites so that each person might have a taste. Surprised delight spread across each face as the first intense sweetness of ripe fig danced across our tongues.
Immediately, we all began lifting the huge leaves, hopefully searching for another taste, but all the remaining fruits were firm and green. After a few moments, we gave up our search and I turned and surveyed the side of the house.
“I say we plant two more of those trees, there and there.” I said, motioning to the space at the end of the deck.
For days afterward, we looked for more ripe figs; but the drought had delayed the fruit and the cooling weather slowed the ripening. Repeatedly, one daughter sneaked beneath the branches, plucked green figs and bit into them, just in case they were sweeter than they looked.
“Mommy! She’s eating green figs again!”
The puppy too was hopeful and would dash underneath the tree at every opportunity searching for fallen fruit.
The first hard frost came and the leaves shriveled on the branches over night. Cold days that followed were borne on strong winds that plucked the leaves from their moorings and swept them all away.
Now each morning as I sit next to the window, tea in hand awaiting the day, I look at the fig trees washed in the early morning gray of dawn. The branches that reach toward the fading stars are all bare now, except for sporadic, desiccated fruit that hangs by stems so fragile that I know they would all drop to the ground below with the slightest brush of my fingertips. The light from the window casts shadows on the branch nearest it, creating the illusion that a lone dried fig is suspended by a thread, such a stark contrast from the abundant life of summer.
Then, my eyes travel up the branch a few inches. I know what is there, but my heart always stirs with excitement at the sight. There grows a pale green sprout, the tiniest beginning of next spring’s new birth. It is a tiny spot of green life in a barren landscape but it is enough to feed my dreams and eager anticipation of what is to come. I sit gazing at it as cold winds blow outside the window. I pull my blanket closer and sip the hot tea and am reminded of this verse:
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lords’ coming is near.” James 5:7&8
Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.