Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dedicated to My Raspberries, and a Friend

This post is dedicated to one of my dear friends - you know who you are. She has been having a tough time, and I wanted to share some special thoughts with her. When we moved into our home last year I was kind of lonely. I had prayed that I would make some new friends, and this wonderful girl was the answer to that prayer! She has done so much for me, and I want her to know I just love her to pieces!

Saturday morning I got up at 8 to go out and pick raspberries and to water. As I did so, I had some rather deep thoughts (I know, shocking, right?!) and thought I would share. You know, my mom has a light green thumb. She probably doesn't think so, but I do. She's got quite a few plants in her home and they do really well. And what she does is when she gets a new plant, she sits it down, and has a talk. And she explains to that little plant, that in her home, it's survival of the fittest. They are going to be some draughts, and that little plant is going to have to fight to survive, but... if they do, then they'll have a safe home, plenty of sun, and the children will hardly ever try and get into them (all though the little Willow might!). After that, she gives them one good rationing of water, and then they go on the same watering schedule as everyone else. :)

Well... in the spring I had the best of intentions for my raspberry patch. If you'll recall I got it all cleaned out!

I spent hours and hours weeding and tilling and preparing it for a very fruitful summer. But then  - you know... life comes at ya, and before you know it... this happens.

And to boot, the sprinkler that is over there that would offer plenty of fresh water as often as we water our yard (I don't know how often that is as they run in the night and Mike set the schedule - I should ask) is broken. So... I've had to have the same talk with them that my mom does with her plants. But you see, my little raspberries have extra hardships. They not only have to make it through the draught, but when the rain (or hose, as the case may be) finally comes, they have to fight for their share of water from the weeds!

But you know, even with all that going against them, my raspberries are thriving!! We are able to harvest a bowl full about every 2-3 days.

And they are sweet, flavorful, and delicious! As I was picking, it was interesting to me to notice that of course, there a lot on the tops of the bushes where they get plenty of sunlight and air. I'm sure the bees are able to easily access those ones for pollinating.

But as I went through them, I started to find that buried down at the bottom, under all the leaves from the raspberry bushes, as well as the weeds, there were lots of very ripe, plump, beautiful raspberries hidden.

I started hunting for those ones and found a lot that were ripe and ready to be picked! Despite the fact that they are not getting a ton of direct sunlight, and probably not very much attention from the bees, they are thriving.

Sometimes as I'm picking, I'll go to pull one that looks ripe, but when I pull on it, the whole thing comes off, which tells me, it wasn't quite ready.

And if I had just given it a little bit longer it would have easily come off the branch and another one could have grown there. This always makes me a little sad when it happens, it's like I jipped that raspberry of it's full potential.

We have one little bush of white raspberries.

As you can see, it's tucked in the corner next to the house and fence. I find that really interesting that even though it doesn't have much room to spread out and grow, it truly is producing lots of tasty berries, some of our very best!

You know, I think we can liken ourselves to the raspberries. We start this life out with a clean slate, no mistakes, no trials, in essence as babies we come out perfect in spirit (such as my patch was this spring, it was perfect - if I do say so myself). But then we begin to grow, we begin to have experiences - good and bad. We begin to interact with others, and to understand what they are saying to us. And sometimes they are kind words, words of encouragement, and sometimes not. And we begin to have trials and tribulations (or weeds in the case of the raspberries). For some these trials become too much, too heavy, and we give up. For some others, we find ways to work around them, to grow from them, to become stronger.

Some of us have been lucky enough to grow on the top bush. Maybe that means we grew up in a loving and supportive family. Or we grew up with the gospel. Or we grew up knowing that we are great. Or we grew up thin. Or any number of things that people would look at as "being on top". And it's true that those on top have a lot - and in the raspberry world, are tasty and red, and beautiful (although, I think it's interesting to note that those on top also have their issues. These raspberries are more often scorched by the sun, they get less water being at the top, and are more likely to be eaten by bugs or little critters - otherwise, we ALL have our issues). And then, there are those of us who grew up in the leaves. Whether by choice, or because it's just where we were, we grew up hidden. We didn't get a lot of sunlight or "luck". We struggled - whether that was against depression, or weight, or family, people not treating us properly, having self loathing, or any number of things. And yet... notice how some of the best raspberries I picked, were from the undergrowth. I think the same thing goes for us! It's in the struggles and the trials, that we emerge stronger, have more understanding and loving, and may be a better person then we would have otherwise been without those experiences.

As I mentioned, sometimes I pick one before it's ready. I kind of liken being picked to the time in a persons life when they realize they are more than what those around them have told them. Or maybe more then you have told yourself and allowed yourself to believe. Specifically when it comes to weight loss, I think all those times we lose and then gain, lose and then gain, those are the false alarms. We are getting closer, but we are just not quite ripe yet. Sometimes we think we are, and we get picked - but then we find out, it just wasn't the time yet. We go back to the earth and we try again. This can be SOO frustrating, but let me ask you, does it mean that that picked raspberry doesn't have any worth? No! When this happens, I pull the raspberry off the little branch (and eat it of course) and put the little branch back in the earth. And whose to say that that little seed won't start a whole new bush that will produce hundreds of raspberries the next season? I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes we have to go backwards, before we can move forward. The important thing is that we just don't stop.  If you've had this experience, then you know what I'm talking about. But sometimes we are looking over our shoulder so much at what could have, would have, or should have been - that we miss what's right in front of us. If we keep going, keep fighting, keep pushing, keep eating healthy, keep exercising, then very soon, we will find it's our turn. We are ready to be picked and it is our time to shine!

One more thought about my little bush of white raspberries. Now for those of you who don't know, white raspberries are VERY special! If you go to the store they are always more expensive then the red, because they are extra tasty, extraordinary, and extra divine. I guess that's why I think it's interesting that my little bush is in the corner, because it must mean that they are extra strong, determined, and destined to thrive! Well my friends, my friend of whom I'm dedicating this post to - she is a white raspberry! She has SOOOO much to give this world, she is a divine person, has much integrity, and is one of those people. You know what I mean, right? One of those people you love to be around because they always make you feel good about being you. One of those people that puts others needs before their own. One of those people you look at and think, wow, I want to be like her some day. She is one of those people!! And interestingly enough, she has been put in the corner by some loved ones. Growing up, she was not given all the love, hugs, and kisses that she should have been! She was not treated in a way that is befitting to the kind of person that she is. And you'd think that would have been detrimental to her, but honestly, I think that because of that she is a stronger person. She is a better wife, mom, friend, sister, and daughter because of it. She has arisen above those trials, and out grown her corner, just like my bush! And the fruit that she bares in the service she gives to many, the love she gives her family, and the way she treats her friends, is GOOD! She truly is precious, just like the white raspberry, and I hope she knows it! And I say to her, don't let ANYONE keep you in that corner anymore. Don't let the fact that you may have been picked a little early stop you. You are on an amazing journey, and I KNOW that you will get there! I KNOW that although you may feel like you are starting again and that you are just a little plant in the ground, that by next season, you will be as tall and bright, and fruitful as any of the others! You will be able to put yourself in the bowl with all the other people who have chosen to make their life truly great by not letting what others think of them matter more, then what God thinks, and what they themselves think.

You have it in you to do this, and to make it a lifestyle change that will last the rest of your life. I believe in you, I love you, and I call myself honored to have you as my friend!

I found this video on the LDS website today and thought it was very fitting. So many of us don't know who we are. I just posted on that last week! I may not know the kind of person I want to be, but I DO know who I am. I am a daughter of God. And that is the most important message I could ever share, is that you too - are a child of God! He loves us so much and wants to see us succeed.



Joy said...

Wow Sam - that was beautiful!!! Inspiring!!! You are a Blessing!! Hugs!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I loved your raspberry analagy!!! And I Really Loved your video post with Elder Uchtdorf. So true and powerful. I find that I have to really fight off those "big lies" and remember who I am. :)


Lesia said...

Well Sam I read this one. I went potty, got a bottle of water, and relaxed in my chair and began reading...As I was reading this I keep thinking I want to print this and use it as a talk (if the Bishop ever ask me to speak, or I had to give a lesson in RS). It was very well written and I love the analogy too. I also know who this friend is and I could not agree MORE. I hope someday to get to know her as well as you and so many others have. I adore her. smile.

The Warner Corner said...

Thank you so much Sam. I love you. I am printing this out and am going to put it in my journal. I adore you. I needed this more than you could possibly know. But the Lord knew and used you to bless others. I think I've cried all my makeup off!

Becky said...

Sam, thank you for such a beautiful analogy. You have wonderful insights and I'm grateful to have a way to get to know you better.
By the way, how on earth do you post pictures and videos in the MIDDLE of a post? Teach me?

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Thank you for the "homily" and for the pics. I love the raspberry pics. And how cool that they are YOUR and you PICK THEM. I've never picked raspberries, but I think I'd enjoy it, ya know.

Happy Belated Birthday, and I do hope you make your goal very soon. :D Have a great fresh new year of life!