Reflections

Pumpkins or Melons?

By Rachel Cox

The author lives in Utah, USA.

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Sometimes there isn’t a wrong choice. There’s just a choice.

pumpkin and melon

Illustration by Carolyn Vibbert

My father was quite surprised to discover that the pumpkin seeds he planted last year decided to sprout in the middle of the melon patch this summer. The melons were coming along quite well—but so were the pumpkins. So well, in fact, that my father was tempted to let the pumpkin plants continue to grow. Yet he knew if he did, the pumpkins would stifle the growth of the melons.

So he had a choice to make. He could either pull up the pumpkins so the melons would have a better chance of flourishing or let the pumpkin plants grow and watch them possibly crowd out the melon plants, which would likely produce a lesser product from both. Pumpkins or melons? This choice was between two good options.

In weighing the two, my father decided to pull up the prosperous pumpkin plants. Not only were they late to sprout, but he decided that he wanted the planned melons more than he wanted the surprise pumpkins.

This experience prompted me to think about the choices we make, particularly in our relationships with others. Whether with our family, our friends, our employer, or those we date or marry, when a choice is between two good things, recognizing the right or best option is sometimes difficult, especially when we want to avoid making wrong choices. Fear of making the wrong choice sometimes paralyzes us, and that fear can inhibit us from moving forward in faith. But the truth is, sometimes there isn’t a wrong choice. There’s just a choice. In my father’s case, he based his decision on what he valued more. He hated to see the pumpkins die, but he knew he would regret the damage they would do to the melons later.

In life, some choices we face often don’t matter, such as, what food should I eat for breakfast? What color of dress should I wear today? When faced with a choice between two good things, we might do as my father did and simply ask, “What do I value more?” Then make a decision and move forward in faith, trusting the Lord to correct us if we are somehow wrong.

But some choices do matter a lot. President Thomas S. Monson once said: “Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed—the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions do determine destiny” (“The Three Rs of Choice,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 68). When faced with these kinds of choices, a better question to ask is, “What does the Lord value more?” If we know the answer to that question, all we need do is align our values with His and then follow through with that choice. It will always be the right one.