Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life Lessons from a Blackberry Bush

The entry into this season of Fall has been an intricate dance between the warmth of late Summer and the chill of early Fall. The further into the season we have traveled, the more we've had the characteristic chilly mornings, but by noon time, the days are warm and sunny August like days.

Yesterday, while on a walk, Emet and Anna Ruth wanted to stop by the "Snake Tree" to search for snakes.  While they did so, I walked over to a blackberry bush and found, to my delight, a juicy ripe berry just waiting to be picked!  How odd, to be picking a blackberry in October, I thought.

My mind went back a few short weeks to the last time I was picking blackberries, out in our yard with Anna Ruth, Emet, and Grandma Marion.....

It was a glorious Summer day, and all of us were thoroughly enjoying the day.  The boys were, if not great contributors to the winter stores, were certainly filling their bellies full in between runs to their secret fortress down by the creek.

Gracie varied between being in the Ergo carrier on my back, and napping in her room.  Sissy mostly stuck by our side, also filling her belly and decorating her face. 

It struck me, at one point how blessed we were to be filling up buckets of berries for free from our own yard.  People actually pay for blackberries, and here we had a treasure trove at our disposal.

The longer we picked, the more I recognized the principal of "the Grass is Greener", for just out of reach were the largest, juiciest looking berries of the whole field.  Always just out of reach!

At one point, I heard a shriek of panic.  I looked down at my side to see Anna Ruth, having continued to move towards the blackberry patch just out of reach, was surrounded by snarly blackberry vines and was seemingly trapped in this new jail of her own making.  "Mama!!  Help me! I'm stuck!" she cried out, tears streaming down her little cheeks.

Within the moment of a glance, I perceived that she was not trapped at all.  Rather, though big, thorny branches surrounded her front and sides, the path behind her was free and clear. The only action she would have to take to escape would be to walk backwards.

In a moment of clarity, I saw such a picture of humanity.  How often we walk forward, focused on something out of our reach, something, perhaps, that is not even intended to be ours.  To the detriment of our own well being we plow forward until one day, we look around to find ourselves surrounded by the thorns of this circumstance of our own design and we feel trapped.  But yet, there is freedom.....freedom that we can't even see or perceive because of our focus on the tangled mess that surrounds us.  Sometimes its as simple as taking a few steps back....just stepping away from the situation to assess.
As I looked down at my little girl, I was inspired by her childlike trust and innocence.  She instinctively knew that I was on her side, and that I would help her.  Thankfully, in this case, it was just reminding her of a simple path backwards.  However, it reminded me that my own Heavenly Father is also on my side, and when the brambles seem as if they will overtake me, He will be there to help me step through the mess, if only I call out. 

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