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  • Jennifer Z. Major

The Blackberry Principle.


Two weeks ago, amidst some serious upheaval in our lives, my husband and I bickered whilst driving home from somewhere.

Nothing serious, but it went like this, "Bark bark bark. Snark. Bark!"

"Oh yeah? Bark barkity bark bark snark!"

See? Deep. Way deep.

But it stung, as we rarely really fight.

I was MAD. He was MAD.

Then he decided to go grocery shopping.

I was perfectly fine for him to be elsewhere as I washed my invisible wounds with some Two Leaves and A Bud Earl Grey. Mmmmm.

Then he came home.

We did the "Oh , you're here? How SWELL!" dance.

I was sitting at my computer.

Then he came toward me with something in his hands.

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A box of blackberries.

Big, juicy, perfect out of season, totally expensive blackberries.

He knows I LOVE blackberries.

"These are for you. I'm sorry for what I said."

He held them out to me like the treasures they were. I squealed. He smiled. I smiled.

We were good.

You see, this July, well have known each other 30 years.

THIRTY YEARS.

I cannot believe that!!

After three decades, he knows the little things that make me go mushy inside, like out of season blackberries.

Flowers would have been nice. But blackberries were the perfect peace offering.

But, sadly, not every time a peace offering is made somewhere, is it accepted and reciprocated. Even the sweet, heartfelt, tender peace offerings can get tossed and trampled. Spat upon. Ignored.

Flung aside to make room for the trophy of Being Right.

I think most of us have that one person in our life for whom we've worn ourselves out in the effort to mend fences and build bridges. That loved one who has spun out of our orbit and willingly allows the wounds to stay raw and bloody because They Are Right.

Now, listen to me...hear what I am saying.

Although we want peace with that person? It may never come.

Yes, we truly want that person back, but we cannot abide the incredibly stupid and destructive choices he or she has made and allows to be made again and again.

The daggers and shards they toss, and have always tossed.

Their desire for everyone else to bow to their utterly ludicrous demands to have their ignorance approved of and encouraged.

With non-relatives, we can simply walk away and not go back. No, it's not "simple", but we don't share blood, so, the connection is easily cut.

But let's say someone's sister or brother has a track record of nothing but pain and the infliction thereof.

I am not talking about addictions of any kind here. That is a whole other realm.

So, you know what? If you've done all you can and they refuse to see that it really is them versus the entire rest of the extended family? That whatever wedge is dividing everyone has their name on it? And they refuse to listen to anyone?

Love them, yes. But don't give them a single green, unripe blackberry. Because they wouldn't even think of blessing you with one.

Save the basket of perfectly sweet blackberries for those who carry your load when it isn't pretty, who love you in spite of when you are less than your best, who are walking alongside you through life, and who are emotionally well and whole and encourage you to be your best, even if that means they get less of you while you work through a few things.

Remember this: Jesus did toss tables. He did walk away from those who knew Him, and sneered at Him anyway. He did know exactly who had the bread and fish and who willingly shared so He could feed a multitude.

And He did know who paid Him compliments and then turned around and bought the nails for the cross.

He loved unconditionally, even though many did not return His love. That didn't stop Him from loving them, but it stopped them from knowing what His love felt like. What it could do. How it could change them.

Blackberries have harsh and deep thorns. Learning how to navigate the jumble of twisted vines and unseen barbs makes the berries so much sweeter.

So when someone comes to you in love, with a basket of berries, just for you? Wake up and realize what they did to get those to you.

Because no matter what, at some point, it hurt.

But they thought you were worth it.

#blackberries #families #emotionalhealth

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