This post isnt’ really about tomatoes…well, it is and it isn’t. My Dad grows the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. He says its because of that good ole well water and they’re growing on top of a mountain (okay, a hill) in NW Arkansas.
The above picture is some of the tasty specimen from last year’s harvest. Not that they need any dressing up, but Dad’s tomatoes, a sprinkle of olive oil and some basil from my herb garden are a match made in Heaven! My Dad loves tomatoes…in every form. Sliced, diced, juiced – you name it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had tomato juice flowing through his veins instead of blood!
Recently, he gave us quite a scare. Retired now for a couple of years, the man was busy as ever – hatching plans, having fun, baling hay, running the roads with Mother. He rarely sat still…until about a month ago. Long story short, Dad had a mild stroke; stopped in his tracks. He has had to take time to re-evaluate priorities, life. He has had to make an effort to see – literally, because the stroke greatly impaired his sight. He’s had to concentrate to intepret images and letters and words – because he can’t bring the words out. His short term memory lapsed but he’s determined to overcome.
I dare not ask why.
I dare not question God’s amazing grace.
I will be still and know…that the Lord is refining my Dad, myself and the rest of our family through this process. I feel that grace and mercy…and it is amazing. As I stayed with my Dad in the hospital for the better part of a week, each day I cut him up a tomato at lunch and dinner to spruce up the dreaded “hospital food” tray. Each time he commented how much he loved these tomatoes and asked me where I got them. Each time…I told him “you grew them…in your garden.” And each time he made the connection and emotion overcame him, I know he remembered his big garden, home, where he was supposed to be…and he knew the challenges ahead and realized how life had came to a screeching halt that Monday morning in June.
It was humbling. For all of us.
To see that bigger-than-life man…broken, if only and God willing, temporarily – was heart wrenching. Each time he got sad, emotional – all I could do was be stronger than I’ve ever been and tell him, “we’ve got to be determined, not discouraged,” saying it as much for myself as for him. I clung to my faith, I prayed…fervently – hoping I was righteous enough to be heard loud and clear.
Now it’s been about 3 weeks since the stroke. And he’s made great progress. The brain is an amazing thing by design. The one who created it can heal it. And I’ve seen it first hand.