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More Than Berries
Photo: Brad Harrison
I went blueberry picking today. Sure, my family could buy berries at our local fruit stand, but we got up at the crack of dawn for “the experience of it.” Turns out I walked away with more than the berries.

When we arrived, the field owner gave us our own section off to ourselves, and we began happily picking. I’d been there for awhile when I heard a voice from the bushes behind me ask, “How’s your brother doing? We’ve been praying for him at church.” A woman peeked through the bushes and I recognized her from a neighboring church in town. Her question made my heart ache because I had to tell her, “He died three months ago.”

After giving her sympathies, she went on to tell me that her college-age grandson had died in a car accident last year. She talked about how much she missed him and still felt the void of having him gone. As we picked our berries we talked. Although circumstances were different, we each knew how the other felt. And we agreed on some things: it doesn’t get easier—you just get use to it; time doesn’t heal—but it takes away some of the sting; you can’t plan ahead which day the grief seems overwhelming—you just take it as it comes; things never get back to normal—but your family finds a new kind of normal; death is a horrible disappointment—heaven is a wonderful promise.


As we continued picking, I spoke to her about the greater miracle. If God would have healed my brother of cancer or her grandson of a broken neck, those would have been quite the miracles. But I told her that the greater miracle will come when Jesus brings them back to life—both whole again—to live forever!

As I rose up to move on to another section, I realized that a lot of pickers had arrived since our conversation began. All up and down her row and mine were people—silent people who’d been listening to our every word. Who knows what some of them might be going through? Had they too lost loved ones? Had something we said given them hope and a light at the end of their tunnel?

Later, when we were ready to leave, an elderly woman walked up to me and said, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. I wanted to let you know that my husband died of cancer over a year ago.” I could tell by things she said that she was a Christian. Before leaving I touched her arm and said, “Someday you’ll see your husband and I’ll see my brother in heaven.”

“I believe that,” she said with a smile.

I picked up my buckets of blueberries, and though they were heavy, my heart felt lighter. And the thought came to me: This is why Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:2 to “Carry each other’s burdens….” Somehow, in carrying another's, ours become lighter.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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