This morning, a neighbor comes by with a shovel to uproot several of my raspberry canes to plant in his own garden. I want to offer a bit of what was originally given to me.
Two years ago, I was that neighbor taking raspberry canes from another garden down the street. That neighbor was so generous, and I planted five of her canes that multiplied from a single plant.
Two years from now, I wonder who will take canes from the neighbor who came today. The five he takes from me will multiply and cover his whole backyard.
All throughout the neighborhood, folks harvest raspberries. I realize the beauty of how interconnected this harvest has become. All this produce came from just one little plant that multiplied and spread.
I think about my own life’s work. I want my words and actions to nourish a family, a neighborhood, a city, a nation, a world. I offer bits of what was originally given to me–loving, encouraging, teaching–and pray the roots go deep and pass between generations. One little cane, over time, can cover a whole community.
Let it be beautiful fruit. I think about the bitter fruit of a negative, discouraging, damaging presence passed on between generations. Equally prolific, I fear this fruit also stays within a community.
May our raspberry canes be a blessing and not a curse.
Journal: What bits can I offer to pass on?
I’m out in the rain in over-sized rain boots to dig around in the garden. I glance at the raspberry stalks.
But then–because hope dies slowly–I venture deep inside the raspberry patch and stick my head underneath the wet stalks. Tiny barbs on the stalks scratch my fingers, but I keep going.
A hidden harvest greets me!
|Ripe Raspberries Deep Within
Afraid they might disappear like some desert mirage, I frantically start gathering berries. There’s too many to carry in my hands. Hidden on the underside of every stalk, I find more and more.
I return with a bowl and finish the work. I’m amazed at this hidden harvest. We feast until we’ve had our fill.
The whole time, I’m wondering about this hidden harvest. What harvest awaits, hidden from public view–from public consumption–because it’s a deeper, internal sort of fruit? I think about all the quiet, hidden things I harvest from the Lord’s work in my life. I think of character traits like perseverance, humility, courage. The world might not immediately see it, and it might not be obvious to anyone else.
But I know I’m changing.
Living with flair means thanking God that He produces fruit in our lives of good character. When there’s no obvious fruit on the vine, it just means the harvest might be internal–deep within–on the underside.
Journal: Has your character changed this year?
All year, I’ve waited for the raspberries. Finally, we have a single ripe berry on the bush this morning.
I complain to my husband about how unproductive the berries have been. “Look at the neighbor’s berries! They have so many ripe berries! We have one!”
“We weren’t supposed to have any this year,” my husband–the gardening expert–reminds me. “The neighbor’s plants are mature, and ours are young. Next year, we’ll have our berries.”
I wasn’t supposed to have any. The truth of it resonates deep in my soul. I expect and demand so much. I look at all my worries on this Sunday: my daughter’s possible gluten allergy, news of a sick friend in the hospital, my deadlines, my students. I place them all in the great lap of God. I’m humbled before that lap; I do not demand or complain.
His great blessing brought into my life the very things I now worry about. His great blessing–when I did not deserve even one of these things–children, friends, work or whatever it is–means I cleanse my heart and rejoice in the very things about which I want to complain.
That one bright berry–when I wasn’t supposed to have any–tastes sweeter than you can imagine.
Journal: Am I fretting over a blessing?