Summer Squash Turned Orange
By Hally Franz –
The exhibit hall doors opened promptly at 5 p.m. on Day One of the county fair, and eager children scurried in to see what ribbons they’d earned on this year’s 4-H projects. Among my son’s were two posters (building a rabbit hutch and planting a garden), a wooden bookshelf and two plates of homegrown vegetables. While he’ll be sharing his rabbit-cage-building skills and garden-planting savvy with 4-Hers at the state level, his tomatoes and squash garnered only red ribbons. The judge’s note on the squash tag said simply, “Too far along.” Apparently, the bumpy surface and slightly orange shade indicated a squash past peak.
Because squash plants grow easily and abundantly, it seemed a good bet they’d be ready for the fair. Green promises sprouted quickly from the ground once the seeds were sown. Within weeks, squash plants were sprawling over into rows of onions and tomatoes. Then almost overnight, yellow produce materialized in the mounds beneath the stems, stretching in size, morphing in color and pimpling up before we finished one row of weeding.
Isn’t it interesting how our children sometimes mature in fits and starts too? Their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth isn’t always consistent. A quick scan of a middle school classroom proves that. Sometimes, there seems to be little happening in their development. Other times, we glance away and turn back to find they’ve stretched out and are sporting an unfortunate pimple or two.
While my son needs some coaching on writing proper thank-you notes to the buyers of his rabbit, he needs no help selecting and purchasing a cordless drill with his earnings. From the silliness and angst of a pre-teen, occasionally there springs forth a puzzling comment of real maturity, thoughtfulness and appreciation. And, on more Sundays lately, I see wheels turning behind his dark brown eyes as he listens to our minister and considers his next step in his walk with Jesus.
I might miss a moment or two looking away, but I’m assured that neither he nor I nor any of us will ever grow “too far along” in our spiritual development. Unlike our human bodies that begin to deteriorate in our twenties or something (clearly, not a statistic worth committing to memory), our souls, hearts and minds will always grow stronger and healthier during a life-long relationship with our Lord. That promise brings more joy than a few squash sprigs poking from the ground and comfort in knowing I’ll never look like I overdid the spray-on tan.
PRAYER: Lord, encourage me daily to develop a more complete understanding of You and Your Word and a more intimate relationship with You, maturing in faith now and throughout my life.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18, KJV).