We moved to our new home in 2008 and, like any proud homeowner; I planted some trees. One tree, in particular, was a mango tree I planted in the backyard. I wanted an East Indian tree and had gotten four seedlings and gave away one to a friend, so with three left, I planted them, but was not sure which one I gave away. As the years pass I became frustrated with this tree in the backyard because after five years it started putting blossoms, but never a mango to wet my palate. I decided several times to cut it down, but it somehow never came to fruition. This mango tree has taught me many lessons and I want to share some of them in this article.
Never decide in haste–as I reflect on my hasty decision to cut down my mango because it wasn’t producing fruit, I smile with a bit of embarrassment. Fourteen years is a long time waiting for a tree to produce fruit, but seeing a single one is worth the wait. If had cut it down in frustration, I would have robbed myself of the joy of seeing my labour pay off. I am happy I did not give in to the way I felt when my tree seemed unproductive. Sometimes things are not going the way we planned and frustration set in and we want to cut ties and pursue new dreams. When we decide in haste, we lose on the opportunity to see the finished product of our sacrifice. Before you give up on anything, think about all that you have a step back and evaluate whether the time you have invested to reach where you are now is worth throwing away.
Growth is a process–nothing that is worth it happens overnight. It took the better part of fourteen years for my mango tree to produce a single fruit. In my mind, the tree was a waste of my precious time, but the tree was doing what trees do. It was taking its time to grow to produce mangoes. My impatience did not affect its process. If we want success; desire abundant living; or want the best of what life offers, we have to work with the process. When we work with the process, we will benefit from the finished product. Often, we cannot determine how long the process will take before something happens. It requires us to be in it for the long haul. Sometimes the process is painful, frustrating, and unbearable, but it is the only way it will work. We should accept the process instead of trying to push it along or cut it short. The process will always be important to the success of our lives. TRUST THE PROCESS!
Move the pipes, not the tree- the tree became an obstruction to the pipes running to the water tank. Again, my first inclination was to get rid of the tree. It was not giving me any fruit and now it was going to cost me money by destroying my pipes. I had the time to think about my pending actions and something dawned on me. The tree was not the problem. I planted it in that space and it was growing where I planted it. If I had cut down the tree, I would have lost my opportunity to see my one mango and would still move the pipes because of future construction. Instead of cutting down the tree, I moved the pipes. Many times, we allow obstacles to keep us from fulfilling our dreams. Whenever we come upon obstacles, focus on moving them instead of giving up on our dreams. Just like my pipes were a temporary obstacle, the obstacles in our lives are temporary. We can move them. Don’t destroy dreams because something is standing your way. Stop and think for a while and see how best you can move it so that you can move them out of your way.
One mango is enough–after seeing the tree laden with blossom this year, I was expecting a full crop of my favourite mango. But as fate would have all the blossoms fell from the tree and it left a single mango behind, imagine my disappointment. Guess what! If that one mango did not survive, I would not have known the potential my tree had. Sometimes, while we are waiting for many things to happen, the single thing we should focus on gets left behind. If you have only one talent, it is enough to take you through this world. It is not the many talents that make us successful; it is using what we have to the best of our ability. That one mango taught me this tree has the potential to bring forth many more. My impatience almost cost me the satisfaction of seeing my labour pay off. Our victories may be small but celebrate them anyway because they are precursors of glorious victories. Don’t be daunted because you are not where you want to be, like my mango tree. Eventually, you will come to your own.
Nurture it and it will grow–interestingly, even though I was frustrated with the tree’s lack of fruit each year, I religiously did everything to keep it healthy. I spent many days venting, letting it know how disappointed I was with its selfishness, but I would still prune and water it daily. I did this because the tree was important to me and would not give up on it without a fight. If you have a dream and it is important to you, fight with it until it comes to reality. Never allow frustration and disappointment to let you give up without trying everything in your power. Discouragement and distractions will try to derail you, but if you give up, you would have missed out on the joy of knowing what would have been. Nurture your dreams and watch them grow; the wait and the work are worth it every time.
I am happy I did not give up on my mango tree. It has a single mango, but in years to come, there will be many more. It has taught me several valuable lessons about the rewards of perseverance. Our dreams may not be clear to us now, but if we give them time, we eventually understand that all our experiences work together to shape our purpose.