When we were Young Part 2 – by Abidemi Adebola “Sometimes our best love moments
“Never say you have failed until you have reached your last attempt, and never say its your last”
Keep pushing- ‘tis wiser than sitting aside
Never never say fail
And dreaming and sighing and waiting the tide
Never never say fail
In life’s earnest battle they only prevail
Who daily march onward and never say fail
Never never say fail.
-Aldine S. Kieffer
Sitting at the front of the main building on a beautiful Saturday evening, the apple tree caught my attention. The tallest, fullest and Christmas tree-shaped tree with the biggest leaves in my orchard. I call it ‘The Survivor’. Let me share a bit of the background of this tree.
The fruit is called Malay apple, also known as mountain apple. A different specie from the Jambu wax apple, which also is totally different from the regular apple we all know. Malay apple is a tropical tree and it could grow as tall as 40-60 feet (12-18 m) in height. The fruit is usually oblong shaped with its colour ranging from pink to dark red depending on its maturity stage.
It’s a beautiful fruit I must confess. Such is the nature of the tree that I am privileged to have in my house. My husband and I planted this tree in 2011 with so much expectation, like every farmer plants a crop with the hope of getting a bountiful harvest. This tree was trimmed, sprayed, nurtured with manure and deliberately protected from all sorts of danger that could potentially harm it. But then, we had a major challenge- the root hit an underground rock and the story began.
While we waited expectantly for this tree to grow in the first, second and third year, this tree struggled. Sometimes, it looked as if it was making progress, then in the next moment, it looked so stunted for its age and by the fourth year we got very concerned.
At some point, it looked like a dead tree, with the stump resembling an ordinary log of wood, but before we knew what was happening, termites had begun to build “castles” on it. At this point I was tempted to cut it down after the fifth year but on a second thought, I thought to myself;
“Let me give it another chance.”
While we continued our wait, I went on to make my research about the tree with the hope to understand what could possibly be wrong. The result of my hours of study pointed to one thing- be patient with it.
Apparently, the root was fighting its own battle under the ground, moving here and there looking for unlimited access to soil, so as to survive. Eventually, by the seventh year, it looked like it had found the much needed soil. The stump which had been ‘rented’ by termites had been revived.
Termites don’t thrive on living trees but ordinary wood. So they took their leave, which to me was a major sign of victory.
The challenge of the dry season was still there. During the dry season, almost all the leaves withered and whatever leaves left on the tree got blown away at the beginning of the rainy season to pave way for new leaves. This was the cycle for seven years of the life of this tree until the eight year.
I had travelled with the kids during the summer of the eight year of the life of this tree and by the time I returned from the trip, the most amazing thing had happened to this tree.
It was an amazing surprise to me, and it felt as though my “beloved” tree had decided to express some form of ‘tree emotions’ and took a stand for life and not death. This tree had grown its leaves with so much intensity that you would assume it was angry. Angry at the delay in its struggles and everything that had worked against its very existence.
It matured into large and broad leaves, giving it the look of a forest despite being a single tree. The process of photosynthesis came in like never before.
Less than two months later, it brought out the most beautiful flower I have ever seen on any tree. It was a cluster of purplish-red flowers along the twigs. When the stamens drop on the ground, it beautifies the ground so much that it looked like a carpet under the tree.
Then the real deal; it produced fruits. For the first time in eight years, it produced its own fruits after all the struggles with rocks, termites, and other unfavorable conditions. Deep red, some were striped with white, juicy, crunchy (I could go on and on) fruits. My joy knew no bounds.
We thoroughly enjoyed feasting on the fruit and sharing with neighbors, visitors and friends. My apple tree has been waxing strong ever since.
Would you like a taste?
Lessons from the Apple Tree
Many of us are like this apple tree. We have been planted, invested upon, invested ourselves, our time, money and everything we can dare call an investment. We have labored, we are laboring and will still labour in order to produce the much desired fruit in life.
Many of us, especially women have been exposed to the unfair treatments of life, but we will still labour and desire earnestly to bring forth fruits, something to show for all of our toils. Let us take a cue from this ‘ordinary’ tree and never say fail. Many a time, life is unfair but the only favor we can do for ourselves is to never say fail.
If I may share this paragraph with women who have been brought low, trampled upon, spat on, called names and all manner of unfair treatments meted out on the female gender, I encourage you to take a cue from this tree that chose to live and not die.
The society might put the female gender at a disadvantage but it is up to you not to put yourself in such a position. The same perverted society that mocks a young lady for keeping herself for marriage is the same one that will call her a ‘slut’, ‘whore’, ‘prostitute’ and all sort of demeaning names if she messes around.
And if she takes a step further into having an unwanted pregnancy, she is condemned if she aborts and labeled ‘single mother’ or ‘baby mama’ if she chooses to have the child. Take a decision to be a fruitful tree and not a rejected log because your destiny is in your hands.
William Ernest Henly said, “I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul”. Let no fellow human being take that away from you. Irrespective of whatever has held you back in the past, snatch yourself from it and move forward; for where there is a will, there is always a way.
For the younger ones, don’t even bother letting unnecessary distractions drag you into situations that rob you of fruitfulness, for many of these distractions always have standby termites to feast on you should your tree become lifeless.
God never promised anywhere in his word that we will have a smooth life, rather he promised to be with us when the challenges come and not to allow the challenges overwhelm us. Knowing this makes us understand that we are never alone in the journey of life especially when trying to find our foot.
Job said during his travails that “at least there is hope for a tree if it is cut down, it will sprout again and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.” Job 14:7-9.
This is why we are encouraged that while there is life, there is hope. Let’s not disconnect our roots from the soil that can make us thrive for in this we know that we have a shot at getting it right.
In life’s rosy morning
In manhood’s firm pride
Never never say fail
Let this be your motto
Your footsteps to guide
Never never say fail
In storm and in sunshine
We’ll onward and conquer
And never say fail
NEVER NEVER SAY FAIL!
When we were young Part 1 – by Abidemi Adebola “The things we did for
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