Like Blackberries

By Colleen Kirk

Have you ever been berry picking? I went to a patch recently on a rainy Saturday with a couple of friends. And because of the gloomy weather, we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. And it was awesome.

It went a little like this...Clad in rain gear, we set out on a hunt for berries. We spread out and each claimed our own row of bramble. Carefully I scanned patch #17, past all the green leaves trying to find me the berry of all berries. Mr. Black.

Not even seventeen seconds later I found my first one, plucked it off the bush (dodged the thorns!), and plopped it into the white bucket tied around my waist. Woo-hoo!

One berry find turned into two, turned into three...the picking carried on into other patches until our buckets were full and our hair was frizzed to the max from the constant mist.

My fascination with these mini fruits continued when I got home. So I began researching. I wanted to know how blackberries grew. I wanted to know about their environment and their harvest. In my quest, I came across a rather profound article titled, “Resilient Rubus”.

In this piece I discovered a little secret about these berries. They possess an inner strength. Though they be but small, they are mighty. In his article, Bill Lattrell writes,

“These plants define resilience. And they usually hold a place in their ecosystem that may be the missing puzzle piece to survival for not only themselves but others dependent on them when times get tough.
Perhaps the best example of this resilience, the ability to emerge when all hope may be lost.
Neither flood nor fire can defeat this plant. It is defiant of time and can carry on genetic codes after decades of dormancy. It does not need fertilization to create new generations; a single plant can create offspring. It defends its fruit from invaders. And it does all of this while serving as protector of some of our most precious small animals like quail and cottontail rabbit”

How fascinating! And then wham! It hit me. This beautiful comparison. I decided right then and there that we are like blackberries; a resilient species. Just like blackberries hold an important place in our ecosystem, you and I hold an important place in society.

Our ability to go through life as human beings navigating pain and tragedy, marriage and divorce, job loss and promotion, love and joy, heartache and victory, doubt and surety, darkness and light and to still be able to, as Lattrell puts it, “emerge after all hope may be lost.” is incredible.

It’s a matter of waking up, getting out of bed, and facing the day...with hope in your heart and breath in your lungs.

So, when life gives you blackberries, or at least the opportunity to pick some…do it. And then make some jam. Because I did and it was fun and delicious. Oh, and it’s easier than you think. (Just check out this super simple recipe here.)

Do you consider yourself resilient? It’s time you should. Do you get caught sometimes belittling your own story or comparing your pain to the pain of another and thinking you’re not worthy of this “R” word? Our stories are all unique and important. Life is going to throw all kinds of things at us. But please remember, as I remind myself of this too…you are so much stronger than you think. You and me...we’re resilient.

We’re like blackberries.

photos courtesy of Colleen Kirk

Colleen Kirk is an activist, public speaker, model, and actress. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, and absolutely loves connecting with people. We met Colleen earlier in 2016 and fell in love with her spirit, enthusiasm, and love for others. Colleen will be speaking for us in September on the topic of Compassion. We CANNOT WAIT!