The Fruit of Our Labor


by Kelly Ann

I am in love … with the produce section of a new local supermarket.  They have every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable.  I have never seen so many types of apples and tomatoes in my life.  They even carry rare items like tamarands and cactus leaves.  And I just had to laugh when I saw multiple types of edible flowers.

I am eating a lot better as consequence, considering I do not have a green thumb and just killed my tomato plant.  I walk over a couple times a week and pick up $1 bags of bargain produce.  The bags contain ripe produce that is about to turn that has been culled from the bins through out the day.  It is a great deal even needing to pick out a few bad grapes or cutting a bad spot off a potato.  Occasionally, I am lucky enough to get multiple bags of vegetables to cook a cheap stew as I won’t otherwise splurge on more expensive vegetables like eggplant.  The only catch being that I need to cook within a few days of purchase and need to be careful in experimenting (I learned lime does not make a good base).

As my mind starting racing (in an attempt to be creative in this post) with analogies that I could draw to life using produce (the types of fruit, the season of use, organic vs. not, the effects of cooking, the combination of flavors, expiration, etc.), I was reminded of a high school English class where the professor talked about how life was like a stew, with different people contributing different flavors.  I resisted – I preferred the analogy of a salad.  Yes, there were different flavors but they stood intact with their own identities.  A tomato is still recognizably a tomato in a salad but not a stew.  However, I came to realize that I would find the faults in any analogy to matter how simple or complex.  In science, there is something called the Heisenberg uncertainity principle.  Basically the further you get from defining a given point by defining the parameter, the further you get from it and vice versa.  Although analogies can serve a point, I think a lot is lost in any comparison (like Elder Bednar’s pickling conference talk).

However, with my current love affair with produce, I have been thinking about “the fruit of my labor”.  I obviously don’t grow my own vegetables.  I just do the best with what is available.  And if life is a stew or a salad, hopefully I am adding a flavor in whatever form it comes in my work, my hobbies, and my interactions with people.  I am really trying not to worry about definitions.  If I am active or not, if I am single or not, if I am x or not, I am still me whatever that is.  And I am ok with that.  I will just enjoy the fruit, the flavor (even an occasional bad lime), and try to share it with others.

In terms of discussion, I would like to know what analogies do you draw in your own lifes?  How do you go about defining yourself to other people? And what “fruit of your labors” satisfy you the most?


  1. A lot of my favorite analogies come from parables or stories about people, from both the scriptures and literature. Thinking of my life as a hero’s journey helps me understand my trials, my mentors, my peers, and those occasional lonely and dark times.

    But speaking of fruit, one scripture that I love is from the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says there will be many false prophets and teachings, but “By their fruits ye shall know them.” He doesn’t ask us to get into the history per se, the roots, or the trunk. He asks us to judge by the fruits, by the results, by what is happening presently. Using this as a metaphor in my spiritual learning, both inside the mainstream Church and also through studying other religions and paths to wholeness, I have been able to feel much more nourished in my own life. And of course this leads right into the fruit that is most delicious, which is the Love of God.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Kelly Ann!

  2. I truly enjoy growing my own food. It’s deep down soul satisfying. And my garden is my happy place. 🙂

    Another “fruit of my labor” that I enjoy are my awesome teenage kids. I suppose that I must be doing something ok as a parent to have come out with such remarkable progeny. That’s soul satisfying, too!

  3. Kelly Ann,
    I’m no gardener either, but someday you may wish to experiment with square foot gardening. (google it and you should find the book.) I built one of these 6 by 6 foot boxes, and it’s amazing how much produce you can grow, even if you only have a small patio, no dirt, etc.

    As for analogies/metaphors of how I think of myself in relation to others… I too am attracted to the idea of life as a journey. However, I like the idea of not focusing on a final destination, but on making most of the ride, wherever I end up. I also like the image of the matrix. I as a small tiny part of a great interconnectedness between human and non-human, dead and living.

  4. Alisa, I like your scripture interpretation emphasizing the fruit. In terms of spiritual things, I need to focus on the present and not worry so much about the tangled branches, infected trunk, shallow roots, etc. I really appreciate this perspective.

    I also like your analogy of a hero’s journey. I agree with Caroline that it is great to enjoy the now rather than be too focused on the final destination. I picture several movies with characters with flaws but who accomplish amazing things. I’d like to do that. Just one step at a time.

    Jana and Caroline, Someday I will try gardening. I actually have a large lot and my current goal is not to kill the landscaping. With time I suppose, I shall plant more fruit trees and vegetables. I’ll probably opt for the box just to contain everything. I can imagine the reward of actually growing the fruit.

    Jana, I can only imagine how it is to see your kids grow up into great individuals. They sound amazing. I am curious though what their perspective is on religion given your husband and your journey’s. I kind of worry about ever having kids if I don’t know what I myself believe. But I guess that goes back to enjoying the journey.

    Caroline, I also like the image of the matrix. We all are really interconnected and I am grateful for what I learn and experience through others, especially this community.


  5. I like the analogy of the stew because the tomato changes (ideally, for the better) as it becomes part of the stew. I hope that is what happens to me as I become a part of different communities. That I add my own flavor and become better as a result of those associations.

    And, I totally wish I lived near your local supermarket–it sounds great! 🙂

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