Fruit of Life... And the Rind
by Ken Warzybok
Once upon a time (don't you love stories that
begin like that?) there was a watermelon farmer in a
rural community in the Deep South. This watermelon
farmer was very proud of his livelihood and used to
boast that his watermelons were the finest in all the
land. Indeed, at the county fairs, his watermelons
consistently won 2nd and 3rd place awards, while the 1st
place award had somehow eluded him year after year.
One day the farmer's nephew, who happened to be a
botanist, let the farmer in on secret. "Pour milk
into the soil every day," his nephew said.
"And your watermelons will grow to be enormous."
"Really?" the farmer asked.
"Yes, Uncle," replied the botanist.
"But you must keep this a secret, otherwise
everyone in the county will be pouring milk on their
watermelons next year." The farmer agreed that he
would keep this secret to himself and not even share it
with his family.
So every morning, before his family awoke, the farmer
would sneak into the field and pour milk into the soil
surrounding one of his watermelons.
By the end of the growing season, the farmer was
amazed at the size of this one particular watermelon.
Surely, this one would win him first prize at the
upcoming county fair.
At the county fair, the people of the community
flocked around the watermelon exhibit and gazed in awe
at the enormous watermelon that the farmer entered in
Now, the watermelons were to be judged on shape,
taste, and of course, size. Obviously, the farmer's
watermelon drew high marks on shape and size. Everyone
was prepared to congratulate him, and he was prepared to
accept his first place award as the judges cut into his
watermelon. It was then that the farmer, along with the
judges and the people of the community, saw that the
watermelon was over two-thirds rind. You see, the
calcium in the milk that the farmer put in the soil had
caused the rind of the watermelon to grow to enormous
proportions, leaving very little room for the fruit of
the watermelon to develop. The watermelon got the
benefits of the milk, but had no other source of
What this watermelon proved is that what you see
isn't always what you get. In a lot of ways, our lives
are like a milk-fed watermelon. (Now there's a statement
you don't read everyday!)
Too often in life, we develop ourselves outwardly,
leaving very little of real substance to grow under the
surface. Think of how much time we spend picking out the
right clothes, buying the most expensive houses and
cars, living up to the standards of other people and
extending our credit beyond its limits only to keep up
with the Joneses.
Now, how much time do we devote to prayer, feeding
the homeless, visiting the lonely, and helping others in
The fruit of our lives, the soul, is often stunted by
our lack of cultivating it. You see, the soul is
nurtured only by love, but the soul needs to get its
love from more than one source. Loving the people you
already love, like family and friends, is easy. However,
loving people you don't know or don't particularly like
is far more difficult, but so much more rewarding.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you
should run out and hug the jerk that cuts you off in
traffic, or to blow kisses at an abusive boss. But you
can wear your love like a cloak and reach out to people
in many little and unique ways.
Here are some fun things to do: Buy an instant
lottery ticket (you know, the scratch-off kind) and hand
it to the first stranger you see. Or the next time you
are in line at a supermarket, insist that the person
behind you go first. Or if you are getting a traffic
ticket, tell the police officer, "Thank You"
and "Have a nice day". (I actually did this once, and the officer reduced the charges later because I
was so cooperative!) Or at a sporting event, offer to
trade seats with the person sitting behind you. These
people will all look at you as if you have lost your
mind, but I guarantee that you will actually feel your
soul growing in love. Their reaction is actually a
tribute to your indiscriminate love. It is really saying
"I wish I had the guts to do that for
someone." Selflessness produces its own reward.
In each of these scenarios, being exceptionally nice
does not really inconvenience you or change the
situation all that much. So you leave the supermarket 2
or 3 minutes later...Big Deal! So you were courteous to
an officer who caught you breaking a traffic law...So
What? So you sit one seat further from the field...Who
Cares? So you spent a buck for a stranger...you gave
someone the gift of hope and the excitement of the
Believe me, the feeling it gives your soul is
priceless. It cannot be found in a pill or a bottle, but
it is greater than any "high" in the world. As
an added bonus, its residual effects can carry over time
and time again, especially if it inspires someone to do
something nice for someone else.
And one day, you will get to look within yourself and
see more substance and less rind!
© Copyright 2002 Ken Warzybok. All Rights Reserved.
Ken Warzybok lives in a suburban
Detroit community with his wife and son and two cats.
Ken has worked in the broadcast
communications/advertising field for over 20 years, and
currently performs audio editing and mixing on numerous
commercials airing nationwide. In his spare time, Ken
enjoys riding motorcycles and writing essays about his
observations of human beings interacting with one
another and how these observations have developed his
own philosophy about life. Writing is Ken's hobby and
"a cheap form of therapy" for him. He is
currently completing his own book of essays and hopes to
have it available in 2003.