A while ago, my father gave me a garden plot which was to be particularly mine, to plant whatever I pleased in it. I tried to grow an apple tree three summers in a row, and every summer the tree died. The first summer, I planted pumpkins as well, anticipating being able to make a truly homemade pumpkin pie in the fall. I weeded all the hot, humid summer, and I watered the plants religiously.
Of the twelve or thirteen pumpkins I planted, maybe five or six grew to fruition, and even then they turned out to be miniature pumpkins. It wasn’t enough to make a pie, so we made pumpkin bread.
If you haven’t realized it by now, this is shaping up to be one of the pointless stories I tell sometimes. Another of these involves robins, and you can read it here, if you want to: A Pointless Story Involving Robins
It’s a new series of mine, pointless stories.
They’re not technically completely pointless–I mean, I’m sure there’s some reason I wanted to ramble about gardens and pumpkins and such, that I’ll get to eventually, but I think of it the same as when I go up to people and forget what it was I had planned to talk about. I sort of stand there and keep talking until whatever-it-was-I-wanted-to-tell-them comes back to me. It usually never comes, but oh well. I’m trying.
The thing about this garden is that it has blackberry vines all through it–it always has. When I was first clearing it out, my dad said I’d have to decide whether to take it out or let it stay. I let it stay, probably because I’m a lazy gardener, and maybe because I like blackberries and it’s a shame to pull them up unless you really have to.
Those vines produce blackberries every year, and I’ve never done a thing to help them out. They don’t need my weeding or my watering. I have never done a blessed thing to deserve the harvest of berries every summer. Admittedly, it’s just a handful of berries, but I always feel delightfully surprised when I find a nice, ripe blackberry or two. It’s something that only happens when I’m home, a distinctly cozy thing that makes me love being at home.
There’s quite a few of those things, like sweeping the steps with my sisters and goofing off, or feeding the chickens, or admiring my father’s flowers, or even washing the dishes with my mom. Home is good.
I was cleaning my room the other day, trying to balance all my college stuff with all the stuff I’ve accumulated before college. You know, trying to be organized. The way I clean is by putting on some music and distracting myself with everything I find. It’s a long process, because I don’t try to clean quickly, but I enjoy it that way. I found all sorts of things, including a couple of old journals. Oh, goodness, Jo.
I liked reading about younger Jo. It was strange, seeing what I was concerned with when I was twelve and thirteen. I saw some ways in which I haven’t changed, and some aspects of myself that have changed very much.
There are some things that I prayed for back then that I never received, or, at least, not in the way I wanted. Some things happened differently than how I thought they would. On the other hand, there were some occasions when I prayed for patience or peace in a certain area of my life, and I realize only now how God answered those prayers. Sometimes, apparently, I accidentally prayed for the right things, not knowing really what I ought to pray for!
That’s what the blackberries reminded me of. Those apple trees that I so wanted to grow and flourish didn’t end up succeeding like I thought they would (although there is a new one growing, so cross your fingers that it stays strong this summer!). I did all I could, and it wasn’t enough.
And then those durned blackberries are there, growing just as easily as anything, without my help, and without my sweaty, frustrated effort. They’re just there. I get the benefit without any of the work. Blackberries are like unexpected gifts that I can’t take any credit for. I’m glad for them, though. And I’m thankful for twelve-year-old-Jo’s prayers that ended up being answered in ways she never would have expected. I’m thankful for those prayers that had no words, but God still knew what Jo needed.
I guess that was the point of this story.
Thanks for reading, friends:)