Just think what one rotten apple can do

One of the best things about fall and winter is apples. Juicy, crunchy, sweet-smelling apples.
Apples in pies. With crumbs on top. And a scoop of ice cream.
Apple cider. Dried apples. Apple crisp. Apple butter. Macintosh. Delicious. Winesap. And wonderful new varieties.
Grow your own apples, or get them at an orchard. But wherever you get them, you just can’t have autumn without apples.
This year, our apples were disappointing. They looked great on the top of the basket. But down toward the bottom, there were a few rotten ones. And you know what a single rotten apple can do.
You can have a whole bushel of good apples but just one rotten apple somewhere in the middle can send out its poison and, one by one, the good apples succumb.
Then sometimes an apple looks perfect on the outside. Smooth, round, large, and flawless. You can’t wait to cut it open, core it, and slice it into bite-size pieces. But when you do, you discover the “good apple” is rotten.
At the core.
That’s the worst kind of rottenness. From the inside out. Three centuries ago, Shakespeare knew all about such people. “A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood has.”
And sometimes we discover too late a rottenness we really wish hadn’t been there.
I wonder sometimes why the good apples can never overtake the bad ones. Life would be so much more pleasant. But that’s just not the way it works.
It isn’t easy to spread the sunshine and kindness in life. To overcome the meanness. And live above it. No, it isn’t easy. But it’s absolutely necessary.
Just look at a rotten apple. Mushy, brown, smelly. Crumbling apart. Worthless. Ready for the compost. And all of its neighbouring apples getting to be the same way.
Just one look at such a rotting basket of apples, and you’ll know it’s worth any price to get away from the rot. It’s the same with people. You can’t get this side of 60 without experiencing the meanness of life.
Oh, there are nice people in the world all right–good apples. But on the other hand, there are so many people in so many situations who forget to be kind. People who don’t think about the importance of making every day a good day.
People who don’t worry about the poison and rot they’re forcing on the people around them.
We have two choices in life. We can just passively stay in those poisoned situations and get rotten, too. It’s easy to get bitter and disillusioned.
But on the other hand, if we choose to, we can be the “good apples” of life. The individuals who keep their courage and spread the sunshine.
Have you ever noticed how friendly people are when you walk down the street in a good mood? That’s because you’re smiling first.
Fortunately, people are different than apples. With people, it’s just as easy to spread the sunshine of life as the poison.

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