It's blackberry season again. This time of year you will often find me in my backyard blackberry patch gathering the black jewels for my family to enjoy. I inherited all of my blackberry bushes from my dad when Paul and I bought our house 21 years ago. Dad transplanted the bushes to our garden from his own. Blackberry season is filled with loving childhood memories of my dad who was truly a master gardener far better than I could ever hope to be. It's seven years ago this month since my dad passed away. I pray that he and Jesus are reveling in a blackberry feast in heaven. Here's a post from the archives about this luscious fruit:
Standing in the hot sun, plucking the dark, plump blackberries from the canes and dreaming of the treats I might create with the fruit, I carelessly turn and catch my bare arm on the thorns.
I call out in pain and pull a thorn from my skin. I watch the blood gush out in a bright, red drop.
Didn’t he tell me to wear long sleeves while picking berries, as he dug the heirloom canes from the ground for me to transplant into my garden? I rarely listened to him when I was young, and now that I am not so young I still fail to listen to the sound of his memory in my mind.
But now, my thoughts wander back to a garden long ago, a garden rich and lush with berries in abundance. There he stood; my father, long sleeves regardless of the heat, picking those berries
day in and day out,until the canes were picked clean, and then gently carrying hispurple treasures to the kitchen where they would be quickly eaten.
But another man didn’t enjoy sweet berries after enduring the pain of thorns. He wore those thorns tightly wrapped against his head with no one to pull them out when he cried in pain. There was only a stranger, a lovely, gentle woman, who kindly offered her veil to dry his blood.
He carried those thorns with him to his death and was only offered the bitter taste of gall to quench his deep thirst; a taste He refused, as the taste of our sin that filled his mouth was all the bitter He could bear.
Oh sweet Jesus,
how I wish You could have known the flavor of fresh summer-picked blackberries instead of the bitter gall of our sin.
And how I wish I would refrain from complaining when the thorns grab hold of my skin.
I want so much to be brave and strong like You,
to wear my crown of thorns without complaint.
For I know that when I do you will be holding out my reward,
a treasure sweeter than any berry, a life of eternal joy with you
in your heavenly garden. Amen.