Bittersweet monologues : Sweet and sour counsel
Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.”
Proverbs 15:31-32 NIV
After the pain of disappointment in the fruit that never lived to expectations, the old man had taken more humiliation from the scorn by other villagers. Some mocked him for trying to outdo the orchard owner. Some ridiculed his obsession with the tree and some indicated that in the history of his family no one had ever planted a fruit tree.
It was true he had never sought counsel from the famed orchard owner. In his wisdom he had wondered why no one else had an orchard except the orchard owner who supplied the village with all the oranges it needed. Folklore spoke of oranges having been the sole source of life for the orchard family and for years no one had ever thought of orange trees beyond the famed orchard.
Some spoke to his challenging of tradition as the reason why his oranges were sour. Orchard loyalists laughed at his feeble competition effort , the village jesters composed songs of sour oranges and the village urchins called him the lemon man.
The more he listened to the village vibe , the more he became an angry man. He stopped watering the tree, stopped looking after the hedge and eventually stopped going to the tree. For the next years his disposition took the taste of his fruit. He became a sully man, grumpy and quick to take offence. He became the Lemon Man. The village had turned his disposition. Yes the fruit had come out sour but in his view no one saw his sweet aspirations anymore.
No one understood that all he had wanted was a tree that would give him sweet oranges.
He became a hermit and spoke less and went out less. The communal ridicule became fear. Whispers spoke of dementia and lone rantings. The tree continued giving fruit that no one picked because the owner never cared anymore and the commune knew the tree as sour.
One morning he woke up to a voice at the gate that persistently called out his family name. Something struck him, ever since the sour a oranges no one had ever called him by his clan name. The sour product had become his name. He walked out of his hut into the blinding sunshine and shielded his face with his hand to see who was at the gate. It was the son of the orchard owner….. the last person he wanted to behold !!!
As he pondered stepping back into the hut the son called him by his clan name again. This triggered a long forgotten warmth in him. After an exchange , the son gave him a message: The orchard owner was asking to meet with him and again the son signed off by calling him by the clan name and totems.
As he walked back to the hut his step got a new spring and he suddenly remembered to whistle. He patted his forehead and muttered to himself:
Sour oranges should not alter your sweet disposition.
Spoiled dreams must not destroy the vision of sweet oranges.
That night as the man slept, he dreamt of a clan orchard that gave only sweet oranges……..
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 15:22 NIV
To be continued….