There is one fruit tree in our garden that it took us over a year to identify when we first moved in.
We googled and read gardening books; we had a horticulturist come out and look at the tree; we called on a friend’s gardening guru mother.
As I set out for the local garden nursery for some more beetroot and rocket seeds one Saturday morning, I snapped a twig off the mystery tree and tucked it into my bag.
There was a nursery worker standing nearby the seed section so I pulled the twig out of my bag and asked her if she could help me identify the tree.
She looked at the twig and then, with obvious surprise, she looked at me!
“Yes”, she said, “I think I can. I saw one of these trees this morning. It caught my eye because I’ve not seen one in this nursery before. They are not really suited to the West Australian climate, but they thrived in Queensland where I grew up.”
We walked together to a collection of fruit trees and there it was – a BLACK SAPOTE or chocolate pudding tree.
We stood for a moment in silence. I was enjoying the moment of discovery after such a long search. The woman who had helped me seemed to be lost briefly in some happy childhood memories.
We talked for a few minutes about mutual gardening interests before she went back to her work and I went to pay for my seeds.
We had shared a moment.
I don’t know her name; we didn’t exchange phone numbers. I don’t expect to see her next time I visit the nursery – it’s a big place with plenty of staff.
But we had a moment that changed the shape of each of our days in a pleasing way.
And this got me thinking that human beings don’t always need to be well known to each other to enjoy some of the gifts of relationship.
God created human beings for good relationship with him and with each other and so it stands to reason that there will be moments -like my moment with the nursery worker – moments of relational intimacy in which we share something that is beautiful, good or moving – even though we may be strangers to each other.
This week look out for moments that can be shared with another human being – a smile in the shopping centre; a conversation in the Centrelink queue; the shared admiration of something beautiful.
When we relate well with each other even in the small and fleeting moments we are being who we are created to be. And that feels good.