Tonight Marcus, Ashley and I along with our friends Doug, Shawna and Julianne, went to a local u-pick and picked blueberries, strawberries and marionberries to our hearts content. Our hands made us look like we had just walked off a crime scene, caught red-handed (quite literally, ha!) Needless to say, a jam session is now in order. Jam of the edible variety, that is.
For those of you who have ever picked blueberries, you will know that they're super easy to pick. They pretty much fall off the bush. Strawberries are a little harder to pick however, for a couple of reasons. One being they are closer to the ground, whereas a blueberry bush is more at eye level. Another, because they can get hidden in the bushes so you have to look a little harder. But Marionberries might just be the hardest to pick; the reason being: all the thorns. I found it interesting that the biggest berries were surrounded most heavily by all those thorns, making it difficult (and painful) to get to the biggest and best ones. Doug joked that we could find some really good gospel parallel's what with the best berries and the thorns, and I couldn't have agreed more.
I've thought about the times in my life when I have grown the most and gained the best testimonies, and they were the times when things weren't easy. Aren't the things we work hardest for what we value the most in the end? Sometimes, you have to reach through a lot of thorns to get that amazing marionberry, but it's the sweetest one, and therefore, makes it worth the pain it took to get it. Those times when I had to struggle and seriously rely on the Lord in my life, were the times when I came out on the other side with so much more than I thought possible.
So next time, when I am at a difficult point in my life and I am complaining and wondering, "why me", I'll just remind myself of the parable of the marionberries and know "that all these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good." (D&C 122:7) We have to taste the bitter to truly appreciate the sweet, right?
The berries from this evenings pickings.