This has been a doozy of a week. When I was a child, I imagined growing up, getting in my car, and driving as far away as possible when weeks like this occurred. Then I became an adult and driving as far away as possible became improbable and irresponsible. (And then there’s the cost of gas.)
One week ago today, I was shaken to my core when I received some horrible news. A 6-year-old boy belonging to a friend of mine (friend in a loose sense–I met him in May) died in a horrible swimming accident at day camp. I wept for the family of precious Grant Fieldon Brown. “Please help us keep our grip on the cross,” Grant’s father wrote, “even when life is completely shattered.”
Then on Saturday, news circulated that a bus accident in Indiana had claimed the lives of 3 dear church members–a husband/wife and a dear mom of 5. I had connections to the husband/wife the way most people who run in similar circles have connections. I roomed next door to the husband’s sister in college. My cousin is related to the wife.
No matter the connections, I wept.
This morning I decided to get in my car and drive as far away as possible.
I made it as far as my favorite blueberry patch in Fenton. I wanted time away from my ever-buzzing cell phone to think and pray.
Andrew and I scoured the blueberry bushes, dropping blueberries the size of grapes into our buckets, plunk, plunk, plunk. I didn’t pester Andrew that he was only picking the green berries and not the ripe ones. I kept my eye on the treeline for bears. (I blame this on Blueberries for Sal.)
When Andrew and I weren’t talking about tractors, I was silently praying that God would help my heart. In addition to the horrible circumstances of this week, I am carrying a couple heavy burdens of my own. (Who isn’t?)
A man in overalls and a wide-brimmed hat eventually wandered through the blueberry patch and I heard a child ask him how blueberries are made. I smiled, thinking this would be a good time to use the stand-by answer, “God.” Which is true, right? But the farmer launched into an explanation of heat and soil. One thing he said grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go–
Blueberry bushes that aren’t pruned on a regular basis generally become less fruitful.
And there it was. A week of reading the Bible and praying for answers concluded in an object lesson from a man I don’t know.
“… Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15, emphasis mine).
It isn’t exhaustive, certainly, but for now, it is enough.