Blueberry Miracle

I am constantly amazed by the resilience of nature.

Koinonia is in the process of putting a new addition on our dining hall. Back in December, the project kicked off with the installation of the new 4,000-gallon septic system, which was to be placed just along the edge of our front yard. I knew the hole for the enormous tank would be big, but nothing could prepare me for the massive mound of red earth that appeared that afternoon.

The contractors tried to avoid spilling dirt over into our garden, but unfortunately they did not recognize that the bare twigs emerging from the ground next to our dogwood tree were very young blueberry bushes. We were not at the house to request that they tweak the placement of the pile, and so on that drizzly winter day three blueberry plants were buried under about eight feet of heavy clay soil.

While waiting for the inspector to come and approve the septic system, the dirt remained untouched for more than two months. I lamented the loss of the blueberries that we would have enjoyed this summer, and tried to laugh it off. But it still irked me.

In April, there was an issue with one of the pipes coming off of the septic, and so part of the system had to be uncovered. As the maintenance crew dug, they tossed aside severed tree roots and chunks of urbanite. I was cooking lunch that morning, and when I came out to pick some herbs from my yard, there was one of my kids’ sandbox pails half filled with red clay, with three stems of a muddy, broken blueberry plant wedged in the sticky soil. The guys were proud of their find, but I shrugged it off and wondered why they had bothered to repot the dead plant. Nevertheless, I placed it next to our potted trees and it received regular waterings for a few weeks until…

New growth! I could scarcely believe my eyes. Against all odds, this seemingly fragile plant had been buried alive for months, and emerged from certain death with its roots still longing for life.

We will place the bush in our yard this fall, and if all goes well it will produce its first fruits next summer. But the hope in this story is so much bigger than a few sweet blueberries for my family to enjoy.

Sometimes it is a struggle simply being in the world. Sometimes obstacles weigh me down, disappointments crowd my view, demands pile up and threaten to crush me, and it is tempting to give up on my dreams entirely. But then I think of the blueberry bush that held on long enough to survive in the mud. Trauma caused the plant to go into shock, and it put all of its energy into the main roots.

Insignificant though it may seem, that plant’s survival has inspired me constantly throughout the last two months. When life’s pressures seem too much to handle, it’s crucial to get back to basics, to put all of my energy into the roots of each aspect of my life.

When relationships go awry, I don’t give up as quickly as I used to. The roots that survive traumatic conditions are the strongest; sometimes waiting for conditions to improve produces the hardiest plants which bear the sweetest fruit. When setbacks cloud my vision, I’m learning to focus on what inspired me in the first place. Then the taproots survive to support the main branches, and when the seasons change new growth occurs.

When I wait patiently and watch diligently, I am sure to witness the blessings that follow those first small leaves of hope.