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Rejeuventing Your Dreams: Lessons From the Tomato

Victory Through Courage
Victory Through Courage
Annmarie Kelly

It was just after 8pm when that storm kicked up fast and furiously. It only lasted about ten minutes, but it knocked down trees and power lines all over Chester County. It also knocked over the umbrella and tomato plans on my deck. My house lost power - no lights, A/C, TV or PC. Nothing to do but go to sleep, so I did.

I woke up to a beautifully sunlit morning. My first thoughts were about the tomatoes. I'd been putting a lot of time and effort into them and I wanted to make sure they weren't damaged. Happily, the four pots just needed to be righted and they were fine...except for one branch that sported a few green cherry tomatoes. It was still sort of attached, but bent over and already starting to wither.

Without a lot of thought, I separated it from the plant. I just couldn't kill it completely so I found a space for it in another tomato pot and shoved it into the dirt. I figured I'd let nature take its course. I expected it to die on its own within a couple days, but at least I wouldn't be responsible for its total demise.

To my surprise, as the days went by, I didn't see curled up yellow leaves. It wasn't growing, but it wasn't dying. I left it alone.

Last weekend I noticed that, while a couple branches are withering away, the rest of it is actually rejuvenating or re-rooting or something. Whatever was happening, it was clearly indicative of LIFE. Wooo-Hoo! I felt like having a little party!

Whoda thunk it? Here was a branch that could have been given up for dead and now it was coming back to life. And just because I gave it a chance and nurtured it. I became mesmerized by the almost-left-for-dead and now-growing branch.

As I sat on my deck, I thought about what a life lesson that tomato branch could teach. How, sometimes in life, a part of you breaks. Maybe it's through a change in your body, your career, a relationship, or some other transition. Maybe it's because of something more temporary, like going without heat for days on end during the brutal winter of 2014. Whatever it is, a part of you just can't bend anymore and snaps.

When it happens, you can easily give that part of your life up for dead, lose hope and think and presume that's the end. You believe that the thing itself or the energy, hope, or excitement that "it" brought you, will never come back.

Still, I wonder what would happen if you gave it another chance? I wonder if you just refuse to give it up for dead, and nurture it and give it another chance, I wonder what would happen?

Sure, you might have to pull off some things that are already withering away - like the behavior that doesn't serve you anymore, or some toxic person who just doesn't want to see you get ahead of him or her, or that job that pays you a salary but that bores you to tears - and is slowly killing your most precious SELF. Just like plants, some dead stuff has to go because it just can't survive. Pruning is a part of growing.

However, just like that tomato branch, you can come back. You just have to nurture yourself, give yourself the time and the love to bring that part of yourself back to life.

Summer is a good time to do it to reviving and rejuvenating old dreams. I'm doing it, I hope you will too!

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