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Joy Comes in the Morning

A reflection on a recent trip shows me that we have so much in common with blueberry bushes. The answer to so many of life's complex issues lies in nature itself.

I just came back from South Georgia seeing family, and while I was there, I was shown something I had never seen or heard before. And I could not wait to write about it and share it with you all.

I was speaking to my uncle about blueberry bushes and farming. Some of you may be wondering what could possibly be so intriguing about blueberries. But as in so many things in life, we can find the answers in nature. We just have to listen.

Blueberries are a year-round crop. Once they are planted, they are carefully cultivated and cared for throughout the burning summers and the freezing winters. All for a harvest lasting six to eight weeks of each year. In comparison, most crops are planted, harvested, and the fields turned over until the next season; in other words—not cared for continually.

The meaning comes in the winter season. In the darkest nights it gets cold, even in South Georgia. But the ice doesn’t come once night descends. On any given night when the temperature dips enough to cause ice, the plants are okay during the night. As if by magic, the ice develops in an instant right before daybreak. In other words, just when they can’t take any more or fear that daylight may never come, they succumb to the elements.

Once the sun rises, the ice begins to loosen its grip. But it does not melt gently back into the earth. Instead, it shatters. And the shattering is the sound of glass breaking. Literally. And as the blueberries fight back, winning the ice war, their branches which sagged beneath the weight of the ice now bounce back even higher.

December is a season of joy, but for some it is the hardest season of all. There are nights that we struggle through, hold on with the last ounce of strength we have, and fight against the dying of the light. It is on those nights, precisely when we feel that the sun will never shine on our faces again, we begin to succumb to the fear, hurt, sadness, and despair. It encases us whole, burdens us as we are whittled down to the marrow.

It is at that very moment, the sun rises. All of our burdens are powerless in the face of goodness, love, and compassion. The burdens shatter into a million pieces, and we rise ever higher, remembering who we are. We are not a seasonal being, we are continual, and have worth every month and day of the year.

When the nights become darkest black, and you are at your most vulnerable, and your faith in tomorrow is threatened--I leave you with these words.

Joy comes in the morning.

Turn your volume all the way up, watch the video, and witness the sound of ice shattering from the blueberry bushes in the morning sun. Life is a wondrous, beautiful thing, and never more so than when we release our burdens to become our truest selves.

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