Monday, August 9, 2010

Lessons from a blackberry bush

Take a walk with a friend and enjoy the warm sunny air and the shady trees. That’s what I did. All you need is an open mind and a good pair of walking shoes.
We needed to talk.

We hadn't "talked" in months. We needed good quality time before it was too late. We needed some time together because we were always missing one another. We were both short on cash and needing some fresh air so we decided to go get lost in the woods.

A local park, not too far away from here, seemed to be just the right place. We hopped in the trusty Durango and headed down to the park while listening to 80’s rock on the radio. The drive was short. The windows were down and the air smelled crisp and fresh.

Quickly, we were out of the Durango and off to a less-trodden trail. Friend said, “Let’s take this trail.” I retorted, “That sounds like a plan!” Down the rocky trail we went until we came to a little bush. “Perfect! Look!” said Friend, who had already plucked a few of the little berries hanging down from their prickly branch onto the path. And look I did. Berries everywhere!The berries looked shiny, but not all were ripe. In fact, most of the berries were still quite red. But the little black shiny berries looked cute enough to eat! I was so eager to pick a few for myself!

I did! How tart! How good! Oh what gladness filled my soul! Cute little berries all for me at my very command. So easy to take! So easy to indulge! Unfortunately, I feared the sourness of the berries would upset my stomach and make me ill.

We walked further. As we continued up the path we saw another blackberry bush. We talked as we slowly chose the best berries from the branches. We talked about fun things, we talked about serious things, and we talked about God. Suddenly, Friend and I noticed deep within the shelter of the thorny branches two giant blackberries! Friend said, “Oh, I want that one.” We climbed, we crawled, we tripped, we slipped, we tip-toed, we ran, and as we inched our way to the matchless berries, we looked on in awe.

What would this berry taste like? It looked so plump and juicy. I reached for the first berry. It was so ripe that at my very touch it fell into my hand. It beckoned me closer, saying, “Oh, isn’t this what you’ve dreamed of? Oh, isn’t this what you’ve longed for?!” Friend reached out for the second berry.

With the berries in our possession, we knew that we would never let these berries go. “On three.” I said to Friend. “One… two… THREE!” Into our mouths went the soft, ripe berries. One bite was all it took. The juicy goodness within, spread throughout my mouth, engaging my taste-buds in a warfare of passion.

I will never forget how sweet or how satisfying that berry was for me.

After a moment of silence in respect for the wonderful berries, Friend said to me, “That’s a lot like the Spiritual life, you know?” I thought about Friend’s statement.

How easy for the taking were the little tart berries. Good for the moment, maybe, but what about the future. I feared an upset stomach because of them! They were not for my benefit! Yet, how hard and toilsome was the path to the better berries. We labored long, and endured many pains along the way. We tore through branches and cut up our knees. We held onto thorns and climbed through tangled vines. But, oh, how that berry did satisfy.

What a pleasant reminder. What an uplifting thought, that the better berries of life are just beyond the easy sour berries! Though the sour berries may satisfy for a time, and they hang about our heads in such a tempting manner, the better berries of life satisfy the deeper longings and desires within.

Once you’ve tasted the better berries of life, you won’t want to go back to the little, tiny, sour berries again. Even though the sour berries may be easier to take, and they may be more plentiful, they do not satisfy for long.

“Was it worth it?” Friend’s voice startled me back into reality. “Was it worth it?”

“Oh yes. It was worth it. And now I can never go back to the tiny, tart berries again.”

property of Allison Drane. Originally posted via Facebook July 17, 2007. Do not reuse unless permission given specifically.

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