Finding Others (Or Else We’re Plum Trees)

Guess what? My beautiful, glorious plumcot tree that I grew from a seed and planted in the spring will not produce fruit on its own. I need another plum tree of a different variety to cross-pollinate with my tree. In other words, my plum tree is what farmers call “self-unfruitful.”

Self-unfruitful. Have you ever heard the phrase?

I repeat: This tree will not bear fruit alone.

And I understand now that neither can we. We are as self-unfruitful as a plum tree.

In August, I tucked a few plumcot seeds in my fridge in a damp paper towel I then placed in a little bag. I checked them a few days ago. They were already sending out roots! (Normally, this takes 6 months, so my seeds sprouted early; these seeds have a “chilling requirement” which is why I place them in the refrigerator.) My daughter who knows everything about plants told me it was time. They wanted to be planted and needed sun since a little green popped out of one seed. So I planted. I watered.

And today? This:

In springtime, I’ll plant my second plum tree. And I’ll remember God knows we cannot bear fruit alone. We need others to aid our journey, to provide the cross-pollination of ideas, to fertilize our dreams with their energy and wisdom. We must find others of a different variety–older or younger and from a different background. We must find others who can stand beside us and support us. Without them, we are as self-unfruitful as a plum tree.

Sure we can grow tall and green and very beautiful. Others might even admire us. But we won’t bear any fruit that will last without one another and most importantly, without Jesus who says “apart from me you can do nothing.” I find Him afresh and look for others to journey beside me. And I wonder if–rather than looking at my own fruitfulness–I consider how God wants me to stand beside others and serve as their pollinator.

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