“Look, I found a huge one, this one will be mine… oh look at this little one here, this can be for my little sister.” This was the running monologue of my 5-year-old grandson during our recent blackberry picking adventure. We learned to bypass the red ones which are too tart and bitter but to seek out the dark black ones which are sweet and juicy. Over time we mastered the art of leaning into the shade of the shrub to locate the ripe ones everyone else overlooked. And we discovered the hard way that if you set the flat box of fresh picked berries too close to the row, you might accidentally back up and step into it and squash all the berries. But mostly, for about three hours, we forgot about COVID. We paid no attention to all that inhibits normalcy. Immersed in creation our only goal was to pick the perfect berry.
Could this be what Jesus had in mind when he said,
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin…”
I have never really understood this text but after the blackberry picking adventure, I felt renewed and restored. Exhausted for sure, and then I had to figure out what to do with seven pounds of blackberries! But spending a few hours on a farm with a child full of wonder and enthusiasm renewed my soul.
While considering the lilies of the field and the blackberries, I didn’t have time to parse the difference between sadness, depression or just being a little down, all emotions that many adults seem to be rotating through these days. The long haul of covid is wearing us all thin. We are adjusting to living with the unknown.
What has been your blackberry moment this past week and how can you plan one for the upcoming days? In the midst of uncertainty and with plenty of worry and fear to occupy our brains, it is incredibly important to keep engaging in activities that are renewing. We cannot prevent ourselves from worrying but we can pause to let God renew our souls and restore our faith. We can step back from the fretting to savor a poem, take a run, read a book to a child, weed the garden, or whatever we find restorative. There, amidst the big berries and the tiny ones, our hearts can know again God’s promise, “if God so clothes the grass of the field…will not God clothe you?”
Father Henri Nouwen wrote:
“Hope means to keep living amid desperation and to keep humming in the darkness.”
With grace and peace,