Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Pear Tree Becomes A Legacy

Over 30 years have passed since my father transplanted a pear tree in the back yard. He was big on fruit trees, nurturing them and watching them flourish. Ten years after we moved from Hickory Valley, Tennessee, Dad drove 110 miles back just to dig up a fig bush we'd left behind. It now grows on the south side next to the house.

Today, both the fig bush and pear tree produce abundantly. Daddy lived long enough to taste the figs, but passed away before the pear tree produced. I remember him digging around it, fertilizing, and wondering aloud if it ever would bear fruit.

Over the years the fruit continues to increase. In the past month while visiting my mother, I've gathered three bags full of the delicious fruit. Mama has called in friends and neighbors to share in the bounty besides giving loads of pears to us kids. Still, innumerable pears hang on the tree and at least a hundred are scattered beneath it.

While gathering the pears, I contemplated on what Daddy would think if he knew what his efforts had wrought. What if he does know? What if God allows people to look down from heaven and see the fruit their life has produced in the lives of others?

I picked up my heavy sack and returned to the house to find Mama seated in the kitchen working on a Word-Find. She laid it aside as I heaved the sack up onto the table and asked, "Do you think Daddy ever considered he might be leaving a legacy behind when he planted the pear tree? I wonder what he'd say if he knew people come from miles around to gather pears."

She shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, but it seems the tree produces more fruit every year."

A gift that keeps on giving. Who can count the jars of preserves that have been canned from that one tree? I know my dad would be pleased to share his bounty with his small community. You see, he was a giving person.

This brought something else to contemplate. Does everyone leave a legacy? I knew the answer as soon as I asked myself the question. Yes. Whether we know it or not, something we say, or an act of kindness we show to another can become a legacy--changing the person's life. Who knows what results may someday emerge from those kind words or deeds?

My fifth-grade teacher did not live long enough to learn she'd planted a dream in my heart when she announced to our class, "One day Laurie will become an author."

Her words were planted in my heart and not forgotten. Even though I nurtured them through the years, (journaling and writing poetry) three decades passed before I acted on them.

My prayer is for the words I write to become my legacy. For this reason I must always write what God directs and inspires. My desire is for readers to be emotionally healed and blessed through my stories.

The highest compliment I've received? When a reader turns to me and says, "Thank you. Don't ever stop writing. You will never know how much your story helped me."

10 comments:

Delia Latham said...

Beautiful post, Laurean! I can just imagine your dad puttering around that tree! :D

I, too, have had "legacies" passed down from people in my childhood - and all through my life - who influenced me by some word or deed.

Delia Latham said...

Didn't mean to put that through so quickly! lol I often think that I hope I leave a seed of inspiration and hope somewhere, just as others have done for me. And if I can do it through the words God gives me to write...that works for me! :)

Marianne Evans said...

Words as a legacy....what a lovely, and appropriate sentiment. Love the image of your dad and the tree!! Beautiful post, Laurean. God bless!!

LoRee Peery said...

Laurean, good to see you here, and what a touching story! Ever since I first became a grandmother, I've prayed my legacy will be I lived a life of loving Christ.

Laurean Brooks said...

Delia,

Leaving "a seed of inspiration." What a wonderful way of looking at it!

I believe everyone has been the recipient of a legacy or two, whether we realize it or not.

Thank you for commenting, Delia.

Laurean Brooks said...

Marianne,

You are so gracious. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I know you are leaving a beautiful legacy through your stories.

Thank you for stopping in.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi LoRee,

Isn't it strange that as we mature, or become grandmothers, we start to dwell on the seriousness of life and effect our life could have on the next generations.

I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you for commenting.

Dora Hiers said...

Awesome post, Laurean. You're so right. It's only as we mature and "ripen" that we really place value on the fruit we produce. I hope people will remember me as a lighthouse for God.

Laurean Brooks said...

Dora, I like that: "A Light House for God." That will be a unique legacy to leave.

Than you for commenting. Always good to hear from you.

Celia Yeary said...

Laurean--I understand this, and oh, it's so familiar. My daddy did things like this,but I never thought of it as a legacy. The story, though, does make a good analogy. As I read your piece, it struck me that the tree is just like a child. You plant it, maybe move it around, nuture and worry over it, hope and pray it will survive the turmoils of life...and when it does and bears fruit, then the mission is accomplished and life continues.
Lovely....a nice way to begin my day.