I was picking blackberries the other day, and I got to thinking. Not native to our area, they are invasive, thorn-ridden pesty brambles that folks love to hate--except when they bear their annual fruit, at which time we all rush out to pick as many as we can to create delectable jams, cobblers, crisps and such.
As I navigated the thorns with bowl in hand, I began to think of the analogies with life. Which parts do I look over, deeming them not good enough for my attention? Which parts are not quite ready for my attention? Which parts am I willing to make careful plans, go through thorns, and even put up with an injury or two to get at? Which parts take me unaware? Which parts are past any help? Which parts stain my hands as I deal with them? Which parts are sweet? Sour? Moldy? Out of reach? Hidden?
It's our attitude, I decided, that makes quite a difference in how we see things, be they blackberry bushes or life. God created this plant, this life, and depending on our perspective (what's in it for me?), we see more prominently the thorns, the fruit, or the potential.
Fast forward to a meeting at church last night, where I was decidedly wearing thorn-colored glasses. I vocalized my concerns, my complaints, my....issues. This morning, as I was thinking about it, I was humbled. I needed to take my own advice. I was looking only at what was in the way and had forgotten to count my blessings. I had forgotten that I am more than a body, more than a youth director, more than a congregant. I am a Spirit, a Child of God, and I had momentarily lost my connection with that fruit and potential, only to be mired up in the thorny patch of "reality."
Reality is over-rated sometimes. Or maybe I should say, what we define as reality is over-rated sometimes. I am staring squarely at a choice of focusing on what could be or what is. Byron Katie has done amazing spiritual work by living her belief of not only not resisting, but loving what is (she has a book by that name, by the way.....). I can, as in so many situations in life, stay caught up in what I wish were true, what I think would be better or best, what I know could be only if....Or I can take stock of what is in front of me, practice gratitude, and move forward in grace.
This morning, I choose grace. I've begun phone calls to let people know how I am grateful for them. I am creating a new reality--one where I know I am Spirit in this body; much like our church is a place where God can hang out and inspire people to do Her work. And I'm having blackberry cobbler for lunch.