After an overtired, undercaffeinated, underwhelmed, and over IT morning, the kids and I had an afternoon of reset. Josie chose art, I chose to lift weights and sweat, and Carter didn’t get a choice. He napped. And after? After, we all followed our hearts and our noses outside and in to the shade where the wild blackberries are just starting to ripen. We picked enough for an apple blackberry cobbler and through it, redeemed the day.
Do you know what I love most about blackberries? Stubborn consistency. I can quite promise you that the bushes surrounding our property went unpicked last year. I know this because when we moved in, in late August, there were areas of dry dirt that were stained bright purple from the overly ripe, swollen gems that in their late season heaviness simply fell off their thorny vines. I also gazed upon the thousands of dry, shriveled berries whose juices did not lend them to heavy ground plopping. They withered where they grew. There was no gardener to tend them. No excited pickers, plucking them for mouths or pies. And yet they grew. And this year, there are areas where the bushes climb the fir trees so high that I would need the same ladder I use for the apple tree to pick the highest reaching fruit.
I realized as I continued to pick, thorns grazing my knuckles and sweat droplets beading on my shoulder blades, that my work in this world ought to follow the path of the wild things that grow in it. And perhaps this is why I glean such joy from foraging. Blackberries and salmon berries, chanterelles and morels, elderberry and fiddleheads…they don’t grow for the sake of our hands. They don’t require an audience or appreciation. They just grow. Wild, and steady, and ready. That is how I want to live. That is how we are beckoned by our Creator to love. I want to offer my words and my heart because my soul cannot stand keeping it in, and then I want to walk away from my offering expecting no return but the pure joy of giving. The bliss of creation and release. I want to love openly and steadily so that my people know I am safe. I want to invest without strings attached and show up in the wet and dry seasons without fail and without falter.
My words may shrivel on the vine. In the autumn, the rains will soak through the leathered skins and wash them away, or perhaps they won’t fully be gone until winter ices them over. My love might break open on the ground, leaving evidence of its being, but only a stain will mark the ground. And sometimes, my heart will be received into hands that want me and chose me. A single soul will connect with my life and my offering and through it something beautiful will happen. All of it is good. All of it is worship, born of obedient faith.
May we grow for the sake of growing and give for the sake of giving, entrusting our offering into the hands that created our hearts. What a glorious story.