How long does a Costco carton of blueberries last a family of five?

All of 0.3 seconds.

Plastic fruit cartons make for apparently unstable towers. In the frenzy known as feeding three kids lunch at 1pm, who has time to ensure cartons are in a single layer on the counter?  #aintnobodygottimeforthat

On my best day, I’d have scooped, rinsed and fed them to the fam.

Or, let my toddler loose to smash with her size five tootsies.i-love-lucy-grape-stomping

On my worst day, I’d have collapsed alongside those pearls of squishy goodness, unable to engage in life for the remainder of the day.

But today, I hesitated.

Long enough to watch the five second rule skirt by. #mommybrain combined with #daddysoutoftownbrain made for a foggy & slow reaction time.

I considered the possible cleanliness of the floor.
I contemplated if hot water could eradicate disease from my berries.
I calculated how long I’d waited for these blue jewels to drop from $8.99 to $5.99. [Why oh why is Florida produce so expensive!?]

In what felt like the ultimate white flag of surrender, I dragged out the dustpan and broom. Food waste. Ugh.

I began a quick clearing of the floor and soon discovered you can’t sweep up blueberries with a dollar store broom.

The result is a 2016 time capsule of blueberries blue-buried under the stove, refrigerator and that hole in the baseboards you keep meaning to fix.

I caught a few in the dustpan, but in my greedy attempt for more – and in my noble trek to toss them in the sink – they rolled out to join their comrades under the major appliances.

This is where floor blueberries are destined to retire.

I am born & bred fearful. I react to fear in admirable ways:

I cower in the corner or run away frantically.
I fortify my world to protect from the unthinkable.
I rationalize the likelihood of feared outcomes.
I go to extreme lengths to minimize risk completely.
I worry.
I give in altogether, giving fear the last word.

These methods are like trying to sweep up blueberries.

Functionally ineffective.

Here and there, I avoid the terrifying. But one bump and the collected berries go a’rolling. Fear returns and I’m forced to start over.  

That frustrating process stirs in me that this cannot be how I was meant to live.

God’s wisdom confirms.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.”
Psalm 118:6

“So do not fear, for I am with you.”
Isaiah 41:10

He is with me. It’s so simple. But for a problem as core as fear, I need simple. And oh how thankful I am that it is simple.

But, can mere presence really conquer fear?

I think about my little guys tucked in bed. Not a night goes by when one doesn’t clutch parental arms and beg us to stay. “Daddy sleep with me?” “Momma, come back just for a bit?”

Mere presence. Mere presence can conquer fears when you trust that person is bigger than anything you fear.

My kids aren’t comforted by lengthy explanations about why monsters or bad dreams are nothing to be afraid of. They don’t buy into bad-guy-repellent sprayed around the room. It’s not practical for them to flee every space they fear or cower awake in the corner. I certainly cannot tell them to just worry until their fear goes away (or morning, whichever comes first).

Mere presence.

It’s enough for my kids. It’s enough for me.

In every moment, every day, every concern, every situation. God’s mere presence is all I need and all that’s required to face fear.

While those blueberries have found permanent homes in my kitchen, I’m thankful I can stop trying to sweep my rolling fears. Dollar store broom need not apply.


5 thoughts on “Blueberry-o-phobia

  1. Loved your picture of what took place, Amy! I actually found myself laughing, I think because I identified with your feeling when those blueberries fled! I, also am prone to a fear personality and am encouraged that I’m NEVER alone whatever the circumstances. Presence IS indeed reassuring…specially when it’s the Almighty God! The blueberries were a loss but the analogy well worth the money!!!!

  2. The blueberry grave sites! Under major appliances and in intricate holes not accessible by mankind! Only by bugs and critters you don’t want to deal with! Love this, Ames. Fear is an UGLY specter of horrific size, in proportion to my faithfulness in giving them all to Him. Which doesn’t happen nearly enough. Thanks for opening your berry, berry fun life for this!

  3. And you had to pick the picture of Lucy squishing the grapes. One of my all time favorites!

    1. Mine too! Lucy has always been my fave of all faves and there are just some really classic moments, like that one, that you never forget

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