Tomatoes for Spiritual Growth

When I pause to think about it, it was tomatoes that did it to me, really.

That first bite of a vine-ripened-fresh-from-the-plantright-outside-the-front-door-onto-the-plate-tomato –it hooked me, caught me, captured me and coaxed me into becoming a gardener myself.

“You mean this is what a tomato really tastes like?” I remember saying out loud, to no one in particular. “I never knew.”

The thing is, I had become acclimatized, slowly, over time, to that round red fruit that is sold in the grocery store under the label ʻtomato.ʼ   The fact that this round red fruit did not always taste like much had somehow ceased to be important to me, so gradual was the fall from flavor.

When I tasted the real thing, that changed everything.  I had to learn to grow such beauties myself.  It was the taste of it.  I wanted more.

This, for me, is what spirituality is all about – use whatever word you like to describe it, but, at its heart, it is just that – tasting that which is, which is and which is more–and thereafter not being satisfied with anything else.  I wonder if, for many of us, the idea of ʻreligionʼ has become something like that supermarket tomato – red, round, but lacking flavor, lacking sweetness.  Why would I bother with that when it doesnʼt taste like anything?

But tasting something more is what has compelled me on this spiritual journey in which I find myself – this taste of something good and beautiful, nutritious and delightful.  It is that taste that has compelled me –propelled me – into the garden both literally and metaphorically, to get my hands dirty.  This desire to cultivate, nurture, and grow.

I didnʼt mean to set out on this journey – it found me.  It captivated me.  It coaxed me.  And it invited me into a richness and a flavor that has surprised and delighted me.  For that, I am thankful.

About Erin Dunigan

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