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Don't pluck the blackberries

We made it home last night.  We stopped off at an urgent care to see about Sam's "cringing" pain as he has referred to it all week.  I appreciate his patience this week while we've been consumed with Shelbie's issues.  His pains remain somewhat of a mystery.  The only symptom is the pain so until he starts running a fever, or more nausea than he has had off and on, we will wait and watch.  The story of our little life.

Wouldn't you know it, we get home and the stupid hives flare up again.  The IV meds work way better than oral meds do but..what's a mom to do?

So, today, I am feeling slightly hungover from the diet of adrenaline and fatigue I've been consuming for several days, actually since around 1994 I think, the day I decided it would be a good idea to start multiplying some horrendous genes.

This morning, in my effort to remain open and thoughtful, I read this quote from the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning..."Earth's crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."

There's a lot to feast on in this simple quote.

Honestly, this morning, I woke up to the image I saw daily while at Huntsman, people hooked up to chemotherapy, their masks on, hats and head wraps and walked.  These people walk.  They don't just stroll, they walk with a purpose. Their yellow skin and sunken eyes are determined. They lapped around Shelbie's room for hours on end.  We were lucky to walk a few yards before fatigue was too much.

This morning with this image, I felt myself getting a little discouraged; a little woe to me.  These feelings may not be too abnormal given the situation we are in, but it's going to take some work to not dwell here.  The people we rubbed shoulders with this week cling to those IV poles as the hope that they will be healed.  Most of them will be.  Part of me aches that we don't get that chance too.

On the way home, before Shelbie fell asleep, we talked about where we go from here.  She is upset and scared the most poignant thing she said was, "I don't think I am ever going to feel any better than how I feel today and how am I going to run my business and work and accomplish anything feeling like this?  I want to get better."

I think she will feel slightly better someday soon, but she's right,  Things will progress and complicate her life and her days are numbered but that  number we know not.  These are not exciting conversations to have with your young adult child but my response to her was,

"So what?  So, what are you going to do about that?  Give up?  You could.  You could go to bed and never get out again and no one would fault you for that, you have major issues with the two most important organs in your body, your heart and lungs not to mention everything else falling apart. Or, you could do something to change the course of your life.  You could find your place and purpose.  You could get up every day and do one great thing with the gifts and talents God gave you.  You could be the person who inspires someone else.  You are much stronger than you think.  You can do this with the same graciousness you have lived your life so far."  That was my pep talk to her. And yes, I was taking notes myself since it's so easy for me to be a hypocrite.

"I just don't know if I AM that strong.  I'm scared." She responded.
"Yes you are strong and you are scared. I understand."

This little quote from Browning was timely for today.  I guess you could even say it was my daily bread.  We might sit around today and just pluck some blackberries but I think we will also try to find a burning bush or two and when we do, we will take off our shoes and stand on the holy ground, knowing a loving Father in Heaven will make something good come out of this.

After all, it's Easter.  What a great time for a harrowing trial, a sacred suffering, a reminder that we are becoming more and more like our Savior, a little closer to becoming a disciple of Christ.



  1. I am grateful to know you, Kathy. I love your thoughts. Thank ou.


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