"Take Something Sad"
(By Vickey Stamps - wordpaintervs@live.com)

11-27-2009 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #567

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

Story of the Week

Take Something Sad
(By Vickey Stamps - wordpaintervs@live.com)

The older apple tree twisted itself slightly forward to better see the road traveler with his heavy back pack and ragged, well worn coat. The man looked weary. Perhaps the man would notice him and sit in his shade made from his trunk and his many limbs and leaves. The man would be hungry and be tempted to try one of the large delicious fruits upon his branches. He quickly straightened himself up, preening, as best he could.

The man who owned the land upon which the old tree stood at the end of the driveway, had come to check the mail. He also saw the traveler. Now he hurried back to the house, made a couple of quick sandwiches, cut up some hunks of cheese and filled two tall glasses with some sweetened ice tea.

He hoped the man would stop. They could share a lunch and have a bit of a visit. His wife always warned him about those strange people who seemed homeless. She was afraid they might bring him harm. He had done this for years though. "Turn sad to glad like our Emmy did" he would say, and go right on doing the same thing. It always worked out well. If the man had a willing ear, he would tell him the story of the old apple tree and how it came to be.

Sure enough, the man had indeed stopped. He was sitting in the shade of the tree. The owner of the land dropped down beside him. "Can I join you friend? I would enjoy the company"

"I guess that means you won't mind me sitting on your property. It is pretty warm out today and the shade of your tree seemed to invite me to sit and rest awhile. This has to be the prettiest apple tree I have ever seen"

"I brought enough food for the both of us to have, and apples would go great with the cheese. Why don't you pick a few for the road? You could even eat one now."

"I guess that town I just passed through before finding this property here on its edge, has got more apple trees than an orchard would. I never saw so many apple trees. I don't reckon you would know why that is would you?"

"Well, now that you mention it, I can tell you how that happened. This here tree over our heads may be the Daddy of them all." The apple tree relaxed and bent down a burl growing on its lower trunk, so it could better hear the story again. Emmy's father began to tell how it all began.

"Our little girl, Emmy, is all grown up and married. She even has some grandkids and a couple apple trees in her back yard. The town was not always full of apple trees, but thanks to our Emmy, it is now. I guess the Lord didn't make anything much prettier to see than an apple tree in bloom. Anyway, seems our Emmy had been paying attention to the news and how tough some folks had it. She had been thinking that though she was just twelve, she could do something to help folks having so much sadness in their lives. Her Sunday school teacher said in one of the classes, that anyone could take something sad and make it glad. Emmy wondered what that something could be.

She remembered learning a story about Johnny Appleseed and thought, perhaps she could grow an apple tree. Her mama was always sticking an apple in her lunch. This time, she saved the seeds and let them dry out. Emmy thought they looked lonely away from the apple, and perhaps they were sad. She couldn't keep them all, but she could pick the
largest and prettiest one of all. She asked her mama for something in which she could make a home for her little seed. My missus, she got an old chipped teacup, and they put small stones in the bottom with potting soil on top. Emmy pushed the little seed down in the dark soil and gently covered it over.

Every day in the weeks that followed, she would find the warmest place in the yard and leave the cup holding the precious seed there, so it could drink in the sunshine. When the night came, and the air grew cool, she'd bring that cup and sit it near the water heater, hoping it would keep it warm. My wife and I were afraid she would just be disappointed when she found the seed would never grow into a tree, but we didn't have the heart to tell our Emmy that. She wanted it to grow tall and have pretty apples on it. She wanted it to give off shade and food and somehow help other people.

One day, Emmy come running in with her teacup, excited as a new speckled pup. A tiny stem and leaf poked proudly up out of the soil. Well, let me tell you, my friend, me and my daughter got ourselves over to the local nursery and found a bigger pot and some fertilizer. We made a habit out of those trips after that first one. According to our daily breakfast conversations with Emmy, she and the Lord had the same old conversations every night about the little tree that
continued to grow day by day.

"Lord, bless my little tree and help it be a good tree for others. It was a sad little seed. Please continue taking something sad and making it something glad." Her prayer never changed in word or content. Every chance Emmy got, she'd tell others about the tree and how it was doing. They in turn, told others haw little Miss Emmy had taken something sad and made it glad. She had chosen not to throw away the apple seed.

Many of them began to do the same thing, and soon their own trees began to grow. In years to come, as our daughter began turning into a young woman, her little tree became far too large for its half-barrel housing. I took it out and put it in a burlap bag to protect its roots. I let it rest against the house a day or two, while I searched my mind for the perfect place to put it. Well now, you see where it is, and I guess this is the best place it could be.

This tree has probably fed lots of folks at the local shelter, and more than a few of its seeds have found their way to community gardens. Its apples have been turned into pies, apple butter and applesauce. It sure has been a good old tree. I expect this apple's children will someday be as good as this old thing."

Having said so, he patted the old tree on its trunk and smiled at it.

The traveler waved goodbye to the man, who had shared his lunch, and felt a stirring of good within his heart. It had been quite awhile since he'd felt welcome anywhere. He had been away from home a long time. Maybe he could take a path that brought him back. He would save some seeds from the apples he'd been encouraged to pick. Maybe he would stay home this time. He could plant the apple seeds in the back yard. His very old mother would enjoy seeing them grow and bloom. It surely would be something to think on. His feet felt lighter as he sat them once more upon the road before him.

The other man, the sharer of the lunch, took up the empty glasses and returned to his home. He could smell an apple cobbler cooking. Its scent weaved itself out into the air, rising to meet and join him as he returned. His mouth watered.

Meanwhile, the old apple tree looked down inside itself, remembering the seed from which it had sprung. Could it have done so…it would have smiled.


The Prayer
Dear God,        
        Help us to see Your Gift in each problem.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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