I was born in Corning, a little town in Northern California known as the olive capital of California and home to “Bell-Carter Foods, Inc., the largest olive processor in the United States and the second largest in the world. But besides my "birth tie" to the olive tree, the main reason I like it so much is because it makes me feel better about myself.
First of all, olive trees aren’t grand or majestic like the sequoias and redwoods. They are pretty ordinary looking, and as they get older they, well… they look old. Their trunks get twisted and thick. And while the sequoia and redwood get all the credit for their longevity (3,000 and 2,000 years on average respectively), olive trees live a long time as well. In fact one olive tree in Crete is about 4,000 years old and still producing fruit!
Second, the olive tree is a late bloomer. It won’t flower until it is at least four years old and won’t be harvested until it is fifteen.
Third, olive trees can thrive where other trees can’t, in poor soil and drought conditions.
Fourth, whereas most fruit trees are a pick and eat, both edible olives and olive oil are labor intensive processes.
Finally, despite its rather unimpressive appearance, every part of the olive tree has value. Besides the fruit itself, one tree will produce more than 20 gallons of olive oil a year. The olive leaves were used to crown Olympic champions, and the wood of the olive tree is one of the most beautiful, unique, and coveted woods on earth. Even its image is revered. The olive branch is a symbol of peace, and either it or the tree itself appears on the flag of seven nations, four U.S. states, and the United Nations.
So when I see all the beautiful people in the world getting attention, when it takes me a long time to internalize something and put it into practice, when it seems like God has to work really hard and for a very long time to mold me into the person He wants me to be, or when times are just tough, I remember the lowly olive tree, its hidden beauty, its perseverance, and all that it contributes to the world, and I feel much better.