Yesterday, I abandon my raspberry harvesting because the bees and thorns are too much for me. “It’s not worth it today,” I say, sadly eyeing the lush raspberries deep in the patch. I turn and go back into the house.
Today, my older daughter–fresh from middle school and exhausted to her core–asks for a vanilla-raspberry milkshake. I grab a bag of frozen berries and blend the most delicious shake topped off with a generous heap of fluffy whipped cream.
I love my stored raspberries as I watch her smile and her relaxation. I put on my garden shoes and long pants and wade once again into the berry patch. It’s worth it now. She’s worth it; I’d endure thorn and sting for that lovely after-school, berry-stained, whipped-cream covered smile.
As I’m out there, I remember what I do because I know it’s worth it. If I’m not changing or growing or sacrificing or moving in a desired direction, it’s because I fundamentally believe it’s not worth it.
It’s simple all of a sudden. People change when they know it’s worth it to do so. Part of teaching and parenting is creating a world where it’s worth it to learn, to work, to sacrifice, to love, to build community, to live honestly, to set goals, and to grow. When I see cynicism, stagnation, fear, boredom–the retreat from the good fruit awaiting us–I remember why it’s worth it to venture bravely back in.
It’s worth it. There’s a harvest to gather. It’s painful and dangerous, but our love for God, for one another, and even for ourselves makes it worth it.