These thoughts are taken from my journal. Sometimes I forget the lessons God teaches me so I’m glad I write them down and have them to reflect on years later. This lesson comes from the Middle East, and I love it. In fact, the thoughts came to me when I was looking out my side window and saw the green dates ripening in the branches of my beautiful date tree.
I wrote this the summer I was recovering from the loss of my twin daughters during my pregnancy. I lost my first twin somewhere between the 18th and 20th week. The second twin was born on the 1st day of the 26th week. She lived for 8 days in the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) at Dubai Government Hospital. I saw her for just five minutes amid all the tubes and monitors. It was five minutes meant to last a lifetime.
But much easier to deal with several years down the line.
“As the dates were ripening early last summer, I was contemplating my life and wondering how I would cope with what had happened. These are the thoughts that God seemed to send me:
Life is kind of like a date, don’t you think? Sometimes all kinds of problems gather together, sticking to a huge seed in the center (your life), and you are left to cope.
But then again, the dark, fleshy fruit of a date can be sweet, soft, rich and definitely filling. It’s so gooey that you wonder if you can even finish one date. But you find a way to do that, licking your fingers happily afterward. Isn’t that like the sweet times in life when things are going so well that you almost feel guilty to have so much, but you savor it anyway.
Sometimes you feel your life is coated with the sweet protection of the date. Your heart and life source (seed) are pampered with all that surrounds it.The flesh of the date acts like those who nurture you and make sure you are doing okay or bounce back: family, friends, doctors, nurses.
Other times the fruit of the date is dried up, and hard to swallow. You have to tear at it with your teeth to take a bite. It’s hard to find any kind of flavor at all. You can eat it but you wonder if it’s worth it after all that work. If not, you’re just pulling at a worthless fruit that has turned bitter and hard. What do you get as a reward for all your trouble? A pit!
But that pit is also a seed and that seed is your life, remember? When you plant it again, it grows a new date. Then anything can happen. Isn’t it great that dates ripen so frequently? There’s always the opportunity for the sun to give it the warm kiss of life, and it flourishes again and again, sweet and rich. Just like we flourish again in our lives, time after time.
I think of Noor and Celestia, my twin daughters, and I know they are smiling down at me from the heavens because I have stumbled upon an important secret. LIFE IS TO BE CELEBRATED! We must nurture ourselves so that even when the dates taste bitter, we know the sweet ones will not be far off.”
I think the same thoughts apply today. When life seems to overwhelm us, and we are our own worst critic, we need to remember that seed of life that will turn our existence sweet and rich once more. The difficulties, God promises us, are only temporary. He promises us “life in abundance.” We are to live with joy and confidence because we are His children.
Lately, I have been so down about more vision and hearing loss, organizational difficulties and how I manage my time that I was looking at life as that flavorless, hard outer shell of the date that I have to wrestle with in my teeth each day. It’s so nice to remember that this period is short, and I will experience that rich and ripe, gooey fruit one day soon.
Thank you God, for reminding me of this. Thank you for my family and friends who won’t let me become a hermit, who remind me of my positive character, my blessings and the promises waiting for me in the very next season.