As this year’s volunteer sous chef for our company’s annual Memorial Day cookout, I sliced more than a dozen tomatoes, and, while they were all ripe, red tomatoes, a few of them held some surprises. There was one that clearly didn’t get the Fibonacci memo and went for nearly perfect symmetry and an even number. There was one that looked like lace inside, and then there was one that tried to tell me it was a green tomato. It was a perfectly ripe red tomato, but the sticker said “green.”
After some discussion with the red Green Tomato, and then a little reflection, I’ve come to realize we humans do this all the time. Green Tomato started off as an actual green tomato, as all red tomatoes do. Green Tomato started its life on the produce aisle in the green tomato bin as a green tomato. And then Green Tomato began to change; it ripened and grew into a red tomato. The grocer, in all it’s wisdom and visual acumen, one day discovered a red tomato in the green tomato bin and relocated Green Tomato to the red tomato bin, but Green Tomato clung to its old label. Green Tomato wanted to keep being the same in spite of its change in life status and location in the produce aisle.
I know God has dragged me kicking and screaming into a new stage of life before (you, dear reader, are far more mature and would never do anything but move gracefully on to the next chapter…). Not all life changes are difficult, but they all require an adjustment for us to successfully navigate the new terrain – a new label, if you will. But we can’t just start calling ourselves “red tomatoes” and still try to live like a green tomato.
Merely switching the label won’t do; we have to change our mindsets and our behaviors to adapt to our new label at each stage of life.
Sounds easy, right? Of course it sounds simple when I type it out, but in practice, we all know it’s more complicated. I am a writer. But sometimes I don’t write. (Not that I’m supposed to be writing 24/7, but I should be writing at least a little bit daily to develop my skill and discipline.) I am obviously acting like the red Green Tomato when I fail to act according to my new Red Tomato label. It’s not enough to just call myself Red Tomato, I have to continue to practice acting like a red tomato in order to be the best, reddest tomato I can be.
What about you? What old labels are you holding on to? What new habits do you need to start practicing in order to be the best, reddest tomato you can be? I’d love for you to share here in the comments. Also, for more personal sharing, join the Mabbat FB group for prompts throughout the week and space to share what you’re working on in a friendly, safe place: https://www.facebook.com/groups/773975689656609/?ref=bookmarks
Also, if this isn’t how you cut onions, you’re definitely not living your best tomato life.