Next month, it will be twenty years since my grandmother passed away. I can hardly believe she has been gone for such a long time because she is so often in my thoughts. I think of her almost every day and when I do, I am inspired to try harder, to be better, to be more like her.
So many things in my daily life remind me of her. The hymns she used to sing, flowers like the ones she grew, aprons like the ones she always wore, mason jars like the ones she used to can her jams and jellies…..all of these things and more bring back memories of cherished times we spent together.
This week, it was a recipe for blackberry cobbler that brought an experience from my childhood flooding to the surface.
When I was a child, I frequently went blackberry picking with my grandmother. Most of the time, she would make blackberry cobbler with some of the berries and can the rest of them. One summer, my grandmother let me sell all the berries that I picked to a small local grocer. I didn’t earn much money but it was enough for me to buy myself a pop and a little candy from time to time.
I wasn’t a very fast berry picker. I was always worried about pricking my fingers on the vicious thorns that seemed to cover every inch of the berry vines. On one particular berry picking trip, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that my grandmother was dumping most of the berries she picked into my bucket. At the time, I didn’t think much about her actions. I was just happy that I would have more money to spend on treats that day.
Since that time I have reflected on this experience often. Not only did my grandmother give me berries that she could have used herself or sold, she attempted to do so without my knowledge. Her only goal was my happiness. She had no desire for any acknowledgment or praise. Her actions, which were characteristic of her entire life, were totally selfless.
As I think of this experience today, I am stuck by the fact that this small, selfless act remains such a powerful example to me more than 40 years later. It inspires me to try harder to serve others and to do so with no thought of recognition or credit for my actions.
It also reminds me of the power and impact one small selfless act can have on its recipient…