But in the night an enemy—or a bird or a strong wind—visited her makeshift greenhouse and sowed seeds of a different kind. And it came to pass that in late spring a careful inspection of her seedlings revealed fuzzy little stalks and leaves, which mightily resembled those of tomato plants. As the stalks grew in stature, delicate yellow blossoms appeared on them. Verily, they were tomato plants!
This woman had always held fast to the belief that actions carry consequences. Confident that her actions in nurturing these seeds had been good and well intentioned, she was certain her efforts would be rewarded.
“How can this be?” she lamented to a friend. “I have always adhered to the belief that actions carry consequences. I sowed verbena seeds and diligently cared for them. I have been a good and faithful gardener and should have beautiful blossoms to show for my efforts. Instead, all I have are a few pitiful tomatoes.”
The friend gave her a sympathetic smile. “It is true that actions carry consequences, and in the grand scheme of things, remembering that will ensure a life well lived. But sometimes our actions—even the best and most sincere of them—don’t always bring the results we expected. That is when we accept what we are given and make something good of it. That is called fortitude.”
As the woman pondered these words, the friend continued. “Other times our actions are not admirable, and we suffer because of them. That is justice.”
The woman nodded, understanding the fairness of this situation.
“But there are also times,” the friend said, “when our actions are shameful, and yet we escape the consequences altogether. That, my dear one, is called grace.”
The woman thanked her friend for her wise counsel. Then, with a grateful heart, she gathered the tomatoes and took them inside her house to make a salad.