from Rumer Godden's In this House of Brede (New York, Viking Press, 1969):
"And what did you give?" Philippa was serious again."...I was like an orchard where the fruit is ripe, but some has fallen in windfalls, some been spoiled by wasps, some sold... or given away or wasted. The owner comes and gathers what is left and gives it to God. That's what anyone does who gives up in the fullness of her life, leaves it for Him; but the one who comes at nineteen or twenty or even twenty-three...gives the whole orchard, blossom and fruit and all."
Giving my life to God, to live wholly for His Kingdom, while relinquishing the old dream to love and to belove to someone in marriage, is - for me, it's not yet satisfying.
On the one hand, the old dream does not die at once, but in inches. Loving someone now who does not love in me in at all the same way helps push me along a bit, I think; I never thought I would say, there is one man in all the world for me, but there it is, and so I am freer than ever before to look beyond marriage to living wholly consecrated to God. It is a bittersweet realization.
And on the other, there is this approaching fiftieth birthday and all the reflections of past decisions, and grief for bad choices and a sort of why couldn't I have realized how much there is? before I made some of the crap-awful choices of past years. I've given away and wasted so much of the fruit of my life, when the Master would have kept it far safer for Himself than I was capable of doing.
Still, the Master wants the orchard of our lives whenever we have the capacity to give it all to Him. At this point of my life, I like to think the trees are laden with ripening fruit. Some varieties of apple are mid-summer, like the "horse apples" that my aunt and uncle had on their farm (that made the most wonderful fried apple pies!); some will ripen to be harvested later into the Fall.
Whatever fruit my life is preparing to bear, let it be for Him, and not for myself for a change.