I appreciate the orange trees that live in my backyard. They have many purposes, the obvious one is the fruit that they both yield twice a year. But they also provide shade for the backyard as well as block traffic noise from a busy 56st that sits on the other side of my next door neighbor’s house.

If a person enjoys the fragrance and isn’t allergic to the pollen, come Spring and Fall, when the orange blossoms sprout, it’s an orchestra for your sense of smell. It’s worth the sneezes even if you are allergic.

And then of course there’s nothing quite like pulling a ripe orange from tree, peeling it, and enjoying a slice that is a slice of heaven this side of it. Or squeeze or juice them for a drink works pretty good too.

Those trees aren’t new. They’ve lived in my backyard for going on fifteen years. I planted them myself. I watered, fertilized, braced, and cared for those trees while I was building our house. They started as not much more than twigs.

My orange tree

And while I appreciate all that those orange trees provide, there’s not a season that has gone by that I don’t think about their downfalls. When I bought those trees I paid extra to make sure I got seedless navels. But after planting, watering, and caring for those trees, when they finally did yield the hoped for treasures, they had seeds… I didn’t get what I was sold or promised.

A fella with a cynical world view that has been self employed for going on thirty years can tend to jump to conclusions and fly off the handle. Then I get mad…

I had to make a decision after a year or two after I planted the orange trees. Should I dig ’em up and take ’em back, or live with what I had and had nurtured. You already know the end of the story.

I think about myself, and all of us really; we all tend to be a bit like those orange trees. There was a time when we were young and full of promise. We sold the best version of ourselves. We didn’t show the people that are still in our lives the warts or the seeds. We hid the side of us that would have caused the prospective buyers to put us back on the shelf.

Some folks do put others back on the shelf… and they miss the beauty of caring for the less than perfect that describe all of us. I receive grace from God and loved ones… and try to pass it on… I think of that when I see or think about my old orange trees. Seeds and all, they belong to me.