Look, in the tree, they are here—those green gems called avocadoes! We have an avocado tree growing in our yard but in nearly four years we’ve never seen an avocado. Apparently it can take from five to thirteen years to produce fruit depending on conditions. So here they are this year!
Along with pineapples and bananas, avocadoes grow in abundance in Burundi. For me that’s one of the things I really like about Burundi because I really like avocadoes. Funny thing is it was not always that way. Although I grew up in a state that produced avocadoes it was not until I was in my early 20’s that I actually came to enjoy them as a food.
When I was a child my mom would often put them in a salad and I would push them to the side of the plate. I disliked the mushy texture and they didn’t seem to have much of a taste. Then at age 21 I was a guest at a home that served half an avocado on a plate with the hole where the seed had been filled with dressing. I almost turned the color of the avocado when the hostess put it down in front of me. I was a guest, an adult. I couldn’t say, “I don’t like avocadoes.” That would be incredibly childish and unappreciative. When the hostess went back to the kitchen to get something my husband whispered to me, “Do you want me to eat it for you?” The moment of truth—was I an adult or not? “No” I said, “I’ll try.” To my great surprise and delight, after I took one bite, I found I actually liked it! When did that happen? Had my taste buds matured to the point of appreciating the gentle flavor? From that day on I have enjoyed eating avocadoes and count them among my favorite food.
When we began to look at houses to rent here I made a list of essentials and a “wish list”. On my wish list was a yard with some fruit trees and a balcony. Thankfully we found a house live that has enough space for the many visitors we host, which was an essential. But the added bonus was the presence of things on my ”wish list”: a balcony with a view of Lake Tanganyika, fruit trees and an avocado tree! We also have two mangoes trees and a small banana tree just planted this year.
All this is to explain why when I sit on the balcony, looking at the avocado tree full of growing fruit, it speaks to me of waiting, patience, promise, hope, delighting in good things long expected but not yet seen. It makes me think about how there’s a lot that went on here before I came and how much is going on that I can’t see. It makes me think about my own growth away from immaturity to courage, from misplaced certainty to humility. It calls to mind Psalm 103:6 which says, that God “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”. I think about my journey from hating avocados, to enjoying them, to wishing for them, to getting them in abundance; it makes me laugh with the delight of a child that my heavenly Father knows me so well and grants my longings even when I am not fully aware of them.