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Miss Understood and the Basket Bunch Miracle- A Fruit Parable
Monday, April 27, 2009

Miss Understood watched from her spot on the window sill, as all the other fruit in the kitchen prepared for the Big Basket party. Every weekend, without fail, she watched this party get planned, shopped for, and then executed. And every weekend, she stood by, on the sidelines, in the widow sill, in her own designated spot, away from the other fruit of the kitchen, as they washed and shined themselves for the Big Basket event. Each weekend, she wondered what it would be like to be part of the Basket bunch. It looked like a good time. The other fruit always seemed so happy when they went to the Basket. And when they got there, and had themselves fully and beautifully arranged in the Basket, how lovely and perfect they all looked, each with their own unique gift, flavor and color ... causing the Basket to be a raging success. She could always hear them singing and whooping and having some sort of celebration, but she was too far away on the sill to really understand what was going on. All she knew is that it looked like a really great time.

She often thought of going, but always talked herself out of it. Miss Understood had seen what had become of other tomatoes who had tried going the whole Basket Party route, and it had not been pretty. Oh sure, the apples and the pears did fine there. The bananas and the oranges and the grapefruits. The pineapples and the lemons and the limes ... they all did well too. Even the plums, nectarines, peaches and grapes did okay, if they were careful. But her other tomato friends who had tried going to the party, had often been bruised, banged up, cut, and even bled out on the other fruit. Then they had been sent off to the cold place after that. Everyone knows that a tomato can only stay on the kitchen side of the cold place if they keep their skin in one piece. Once the thin skin that covers their succulent and juice-filled flesh is broken, the juice will seep out all over the other fruit causing an awful mess. Plus, what tomato girl in her right mind wants to be cut by other fruit just for trying to go the Basket? Not her, she firmly decided. No sir. She didn't care what marvelous things she might be missing out on at the Basket party. She would simply stay "home" on her window sill perch where she was safe with all the other tomatoes.

Besides, she knew that she was not even truly accepted among the other fruits as fruit. As far as they were all concerned she was a vegetable, and as such, had no place in the Basket. She could tell by the way they looked at her. Oh sure, some of the other fruits were friendly and said hello to her sometimes. And sure, they would even occasionally smile in her direction, but more often then not, as soon as they got where they thought she couldn't hear them, she heard them snicker and whisper under their breath with disapproving tones. She knew what they thought of her. She was a tomato. A vegetable. Not worthy of the fruit Basket party. She got it, alright. And she knew she wasn't worthy too. So what if she was truly a fruit, just like any of them? Wasn't she even classified as a vegetable by the Chefs and culinary Officials? She knew being a fruit wasn't enough. She had to be a certain KIND of fruit. The right kind. The sweet kind. The kind that was good served on cereal or with whipped cream. And she wasn't that kind of fruit. She didn't need them to tell her she looked, smelled, and tasted different than all of them.

She had come to accept it, and although it made her sad, Miss Understood knew that was just the way it was. Sometimes she and some of the other tomatoes were allowed to have their own little mini-basket parties, but it just wasn't the same as being included in the Main Basket on the Main
Table in the Main Dining Room.

But she knew she would have such a different kind of life if she could just figure out how to interact with the fruit of the Basket. She wanted so badly to try, but she was afraid. All she had ever known was how to be a tomato. How to be part of a salad, how to make a wickedly delicious sauce. How to spruce up a sandwich. And how to look beautiful, sitting alone, away from the other fruit, in the window sill, just doing her best to keep her skin all in one piece so she wouldn't be sent off to the cold place. And besides, everyone knows that tomatoes are supposed to stick together. Even at the market, while all the other fruit is displayed on a long bin, all in their own section, but sitting right next to each other, the tomatoes are off in another area ... alll by themselves, far, far away from all the other fruit. She supposed she should just give up on her dream of being included in the Big Basket. She was destined to be a tomato, and that was that.

Then one day, the most unusual thing begin to happen. It all started in the teeniest, tiniest way. She was sitting there on her window sill one day, when three peaches strolled over to her sill and said, "Hi. How are you today, Miss Understood? You're looking beautiful. We noticed that you looked a little lonely and sad, though, and thought we'd come and visit you. We know it's difficult for you to come to the basket where all the sharper fruits are, with their tougher skins and sometimes spiny exteriors, so we thought we'd just come hang out with you, here on the sill. Would you mind?" Miss Understood was tempted to be skeptical, but these gals looked different than the fruit she was used to dealing with. They were really looking at her, not through her. Their smiles seemed so warm and sincere. They truly seemed interested. And kind. Yes, really kind. And like they understood what her life as a tomato was like. She didn't know how they could know, but well ... she was thrilled! "Oh sure", she hopped over a bit so the peaches could sit with her, and they spent the afternoon talking and having a wonderful time sharing experiences together. It turned out that the peaches were more like her than she thought. Sure, they hung out in the Big Basket with the rest of the fruit, but she was surprised to find out that they had also been to some of the places she had been, such as Salsa, Sauce, and Preserves. Some of the peaches in their family had even been Canned, just like some of hers had. She'd had no idea! Wow.

After they were gone, she felt all warm on the inside, although she didn't really know why. She guessed it just felt good to be included and to feel like somebody cared about her. Miss Understood ... just a tomato ... just like she was. She liked it, she liked them, and she found herself hoping they would come back. And they did, the very next day ... and this time, they brought a plum with them. And the next time, a pear came along, too. And the next time after that, a whole bunch of grapes showed up, and then an orange, and a lime, and a banana ... till one day, as they sat partying together on the sill, she looked over to the basket and realized it was empty. Every fruit in the basket had come to where she was! They had brought the party to her! So she began telling all of her Miss Understood family and neighborhood about the great time they were having, and before too long they were all sharing and caring for one another right there on the sill. Then one day, the sill was too small to hold all of them, and they had to find a new place to hang out, so the other fruit invited her and all of her tomato gang back to the Main Dining Table to hang out with them at the Basket, and suddenly Miss Understood wasn't afraid of getting in the Basket with the other fruit. She knew now that they cared about her, and even though she bruised easily and her skin might break under other circumstances, she knew she would never have to worry about that with these fruits ever again. She had discovered a secret about them. They were not just any fruit, they called themselves Juiceefruit ... they were the fruit of the spirit. And, this made them very special. Over time, Miss Understood came to realize what this meant. It meant they would rather hurt themselves than hurt her. All they wanted was to help her feel loved, accepted and happy like they were. It meant that they were loving, joyful, full of peace, patient, kind, (yup, she had noticed the kindness the first day the peaches came to visit). They were so good, and visited her faithfully. They were so gentle with her. They wanted her to know that they now realized she was fruit just like them and they were sharing that news with all the other fruit they knew. So they had learned her secret, too. She was not a vegetable ... she was a tomato ... and more than that, they told her something she didn't know ... that the tomato was the biggest, juiciest, plumpest berry of the entire berry line. As far back as berries went, the tomato was the biggest ever. So big, that even the other berries hadn't known Miss Understood was a berry.

They all learned something else, too: The same Gardener had grown them all. Everyone of them! And The Gardner loved them all the same. She shared the news with her other tomato friends, and they shared it with theirs. She finally knew she had found a place she could still be herself, and yet enjoy being the fruit she was grown to be! True, she might be a tomato, different looking, different smelling and different tasting from the other fruits, but by God, she was still a fruit! She was sooo happy. Soon she begin to feel like she was a fruit of the spirit, too ... just like they were. And she was!

She had simply been a fruit who was Miss Understood.

"You are the light of the world. let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14,16

God's beloved child
18th November 1985
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