Today’s gospel parable about the scraggly fig tree brings me hope. Some pet project I hold dear gets stalled. A family relationship I worry about is once again a mess. A decision I need to make suddenly becomes more complicated than I imagined. It’s hard to be patient, inconvenient simply to wait. What to do?
Jesus offers a different perspective, one hard to swallow amidst today’s instant iPhone and media culture: “Sir, leave it another year while I hoe around it and manure it; then perhaps it will bear fruit.”
Isn’t it the human realities that so often trip us up? Decisions need time to evolve. Complex issues need space to form and focus. Relationships need a bit more care and attention—that inconvenient process of “hoeing and manuring”—in order to mature.
Can I be patient this weekend with some issue I need to have solved? Can I give space to someone in my family who needs to grow into a conclusion I have already reached? And am I ready to imagine someone’s different decision than the one I have already decided is “right” or “correct”?
—The Jesuit prayer team