Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning from Blueberries

Too often in life, I forget that how life moves forward, how things improve, how we grow, how the organizations we lead grow too.   But this week the blueberries reminded me. 
I have one more day in blueberry heaven, better known as my parents' home in North Georgia.  Years ago, my father planted a few blueberry bushes in the back yard. Now it's a plantation.  I know.  Not only have I been eating them, I went out to help pick them.  That's where the picture comes from.  That's one stalk of dozens on one bush, and there have to be twenty bushes.  We are talking a lot of blueberries!

As my dad and I picked, we talked.  I asked.  "Where did all bushes come from?".  He said,  "I take a stalk from a bush, and plant it in the ground in the middle of winter.  I water it, fertilize it, and then it produces blueberries.  "How long does that take?"  He shrugged and said, "About three years."

I thought.  I often get frustrated with the slow pace of change and growth in my life.  I want to do one set of crunches and have a six pack.  I want to present a vision for the future among the people I serve and see that future come to fruition within a week.  I commit to removing self-destructive habits or attitudes in my own life, and expect them to disappear overnight.  And when that doesn't happen, I get discouraged.  But I'm forgetting that change doesn't happen like a download on my iphone.   I'm not a mechanism.  I'm an organism.  And so are the organizations I serve (heck, it's even in the name ORGANIzation).  We're like those blueberries.

Like those blueberries, fruitfulness requires time. It requires giving faithful cultivation, room to grow, and a willingness to wait patiently for growth to happen.  If I don't give up, if I faithfully cultivate, if I give room to grow, if I wait patiently, then one day, fruit can begin to form.  When it begins, who knows where the fruitfulness will end?   What sort of heaven such abundance will create?  When I get discouraged when growth seems to come slowly, I'm going to look at this blueberry pic.  I'm going to let it remind me to continue to cultivate, to give room to grow to myself and others, and to be willing to wait for the fruitfulness to come.  What are your thoughts on learning from blueberries?