Lessons from an orange tree
A friend of mine moved into a new house and was excited when the realtor told her there was an orange tree in the backyard. She pictured herself sitting on her new porch on a lazy Sunday morning, reading the paper and sipping fresh squeezed juice made from her very own oranges.
When she moved in, the oranges had just appeared on the tree. They were just tiny, hard green nubs. Every day when she got home the first thing she did was rush to the backyard to check on her oranges.
It was slow going. They got a little bigger and a little less hard, but they remained green. One day she couldn’t wait any longer and plucked one off the tree to try. It was so sour she spit it out.
She grew more and more impatient, and over time she started to resent the orange tree and its defective fruit. She complained to a lot of people about her lack of oranges.
Eventually she gave up on the tree altogether. Then one day she was giving a tour of her new place to another friend. When they got to the back yard, her friend pointed at the tree and said “How lucky!”.
My friend rolled her eyes. “Don’t get too excited,” she said. “I’ve never gotten a single good orange from that thing.”
Her friend looked from her to the tree and back again.
“That’s because it’s a lime tree.”
This story makes me laugh every time, because God knows I’ve had SO many of my own orange trees. Meaning when you want something so badly you try to make whatever in front of you into that thing. Boyfriends into husbands. Bad relationships into good ones. Jobs that look good on the outside into ones that fulfill you on the inside.
At the end of the day though, a lime is a lime is a lime. And sometimes it’s exactly what you need.