We meet unexpectedly by the strawberries, this beautiful woman and I. A few days before, we gave thanks at family table in different homes.
We talk about Thanksgiving and her eyes begin to pool. Her husband stands hushed and gentle.
Three syllables full of loss and gratitude jumble together in pieces and I can feel the heart ache of a year gone by without her. I lost my mother too—ten years ago—and I know . . .
Holidays are hardest. Traditions and love and hugs and hands preparing favorites are batons passed on to runners behind—to us daughters following hard, trying to keep stride. Someday, we will pass on and hand off to our own.
“I don’t know how people make it without God,” she says quietly.
And she thanks me for encouraging words I write here in small space of universe vast. She doesn’t know that I nearly vowed to stop today—to stop writing, to stop sharing, to stop pumping heart on page because it’s hard to be vulnerable and honest and put myself out there bare, wondering why I do it at all.
But now I know. We keep on baring because God touches others when we dare to be real and share from the heart. I am thankful for her heart tears. She is thankful for my heart words. In the vulnerable we connect deeply and meaningfully and this is how it is meant to be, this thing we call relationship.
All this, by the strawberries.
We, two women real, meet here by the fruit. We comfort. We encourage. And this is not coincidence. This is God’s grace. In our doubts and our fears, in our sorrows and tears, God graces us with each other for a moment and He produces holy fruit. See, God is everywhere—even in the berries.
The ministry of God happens in produce sections where holy fruit comes free but not easy. Holy fruit requires opening and baring and sharing. Can we open heart places and let someone in? Can we embrace tender, knowing we all have tender spaces? Can we take a moment for real? To heal, we need real!
Arriving home from the grocery, I am blessed with a God gift of 50—exactly 50 cedar waxwings atop a front tree. These beautiful birds do something this beautiful woman and I did today by the berries.
Cedar waxwings live life—together—and meet in trees—by the berries. And they take turns and they share to sustain. When berries are out at the end of a branch, cedar waxwings perch in a row. The closest bird to berries plucks one and sends it down the line, beak to beak, till all birds are fed their fill. This loving sharing feeds the birds. How much more this loving sharing feeds the human soul.
Thank you Brenda, for your beautiful spirit and your willingness to be real and tender. You are a gift who touched my soul and fed me holy fruit by the berries, heart to heart, if not beak to beak. I plan to pass it on down the line.