Berries and Thorns


  Recently I had two experiences with blackberries that got me thinking. The first event was unexpected, I was watering the thirsty flowers around my trees, when I was suddenly caught up in a tangle of blackberry canes. Since I had not planned to encounter blackberries, I was not prepared for the consequences. I was wearing shorts that left my legs exposed past the knee, and flip-flops, which offer minimal protection at the very least. The canes did their very best to ensnare me and in my rush to flee from their thorny embrace, my legs were badly scratched and began bleeding. I hobbled inside to address the damage. Both of my legs had 3 in. long scratches, deep enough to bleed for several minutes and left me hurt for days afterwards. I could not wear pants because the fabric would rub the newly formed scabs and rip them off. It was a painful reminder that danger was lurking in my seemingly benign back yard.
  The second event was when I was preparing a dessert for our sister missionaries who were attending dinner with us. I decided to try this new blackberry pie. I needed a few more berries, so I got prepared to go pick some. I had on long pants, long sleeves and my trusty tennis shoes. I was ready to go foraging. We are lucky enough to have a huge patch of blackberries right outside out back door. I like them there, unfortunately blackberry canes have a sneaky way of popping up in unwanted places if you aren't constantly on the watch for them. Daniel is battling them year round, but I digress. So I went out and carefully picked my way around the thorns and spiders in order to retrieve enough precious fruit for my luscious dessert.
  As I stood there picking each juicy orb with sticky purple fingers, I reflected on my last encounter and how different each experience was. My first experience was sudden and painful, this one was much more pleasant, even though I had to navigate through the dangers surrounding the fruit, I was enjoying the experience and I knew that my outcome would be far better and worth the occasional prick or stained finger. My end result would be glorious.
  I felt this was an analogy for purity. We are constantly surrounded by thorns that wait to catch us. They can catch us off guard and cause serious injury to our bodies and souls. Yet we have been warned of these various traps by our loving Heavenly Father through His servants, the prophets. We can be prepared for the thorns and bugs that surround us and put in the hard work to remain pure in an otherwise impure world. Then we can receive the blessings that come from our diligence. We can be prepared. And as it states in, Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”  

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