The Last Tomatoes of Summer

December 22, 2016

By Lea Splane

In late October we ate the last tomatoes of summer…those final pieces of fruit that ripened just before the weather turned colder. There is something wonderful about those tomatoes, knowing we are going into another season with no harvest. The last fruit of summer seems like the sweetest and best.

I liken it to this time of my life when I am retiring from my job. The time has come rushing up, when it seems just a few months ago it would never happen. After a year or so at my job, I wasn’t sure I would stay. I wasn’t happy, and things were not going well. I almost resigned and moved on.

But a wise counselor advised me to stay the course, move on to another area, and see if I could adjust. And that I did, eventually landing in the job I am retiring from. And I am so glad I stayed. It is not just because of the benefits that I am richly enjoying, including retiring with a pension. It is what I learned during these last nearly 12 years in this job that has enriched my life beyond measure.

I found myself with a supervisor who was brave enough to sit down with me and show me how I needed to change. Was that easy to hear? No, not at all, but it was also a relief, because I finally understood why I had experienced so much strife and pain in my job. Because of his courage, it helped me to have the courage to look honestly into myself and make the decision to change. And that has made all the difference for me.

I have been able to make friends with some wonderful people in the past twelve years. I have had so many wonderful days and moments in my job, crazy times, even frustrating and stressful times. I have laughed and I have cried. But instead of constantly being in conflict, I have been able to work together with my coworkers, learning, sharing my skills, and contributing to our combined success. I have been able to see my job as a gift.

I have heard it said that as humans we naturally avoid pain and difficulty. We want to take the easy path. That is what I have done so many times in the past. But this time, I chose the more difficult path. Change is not easy, especially changing a lifetime of habits. But change I did, and I am so grateful for the time I have had at this wonderful company.

It is sad to leave, but now I am entering into a new season of my life, looking forward to new adventures and new lessons.

To quote from one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes:
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

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