I grew up in the country. There were farms all around me. My uncles raised cows and cotton and coybeans. My grandmother and my mother always had gardens.
But I know nothing!
Which is why living in this new land is so amazing, so educational. Recently we went on our 2nd Annual Apple Blossom Tour with Charlie Embree through the Annapolis Valley. “The Valley” as it is called is the produce producing area of Nova Scotia. Especially apples! Not that long ago over 8 tons of apples were exported from Port Williams alone! And all kinds of apples! Before we moved her I knew Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp. I thought that was about all the apples there were. But there are so many varieties of apples that I have accused people of making up names! Jona Gold, Gravenstein, Sarah Apple—I joked I dated here is high school! And they come in at different times and some are best for pies and others are good for munching and others for applesauce! Who knew!
Charlie knew! For many years Charlie was the Agricultural Agent for apples in our area, so he knows apple, farmers, and where and when to see the blossoms! He also is a very patient teacher.
This year’s lesson was on the importance of diversity.
See, I thought that if you wanted to raise Gala apples you would plant Gala apples. Then in another orchard you might plant McIntosh, and in another area you might plant Gravensteins. You wanted to keep them separate so you wouldn’t “contaminate” the apples.
If I were an apple farmer I would never have a crop!
For you see, in order for the apples to pollinate, they need some diversity. So when you plan out your orchard (yes there are people who plan orchards) you want to make sure that you have 2 rows of Gala beside 2 rows of Red Delicious beside two rows of Honeycrisp. A McIntosh apple cannot pollinate another McIntosh! A Honeycrisp cannot pollinate another Honeycrisp. They need something different! They need diversity. In fact, some apple farmers will plant a crabapple tree in the midst of their orchard to make sure they have the needed diversity!
Since my agricultural lesson I have wondered about my own life my world. How often have I just surrounded myself with “the same.” People who look like me, who talk like me, who believe like me, who vote like me. When diversity comes along, how often do I run away, chase it away, build a wall to keep it away?
Could that be my undoing, my death?
In my little Baptist world we often heard Jesus command, “Go ye into the world and make disciples.” We always stressed that last part. Maybe the first part is what he really meant! Go into a different place, with different people. Allow the world to come into your space, into your life. Maybe that is where our salvation lies.