My oldest child recently got her driver’s license, which changes so many family dynamics.  Tonight, she and her younger brother stopped by the grocery store together.  She was eager to tell me about it:  “You know how I’ve been wanting blueberries?  Well, I picked up a plastic carton of them.  But… it came open and they all spilled out.  They rolled everywhere!  They went under things and just scattered everywhere.  We were trying hard to pick them all up when an older lady noticed us.  She asked what happened and I explained that I had dropped them and we were trying to clean them up.  The lady walked on, and just a few minutes later, a man that worked there showed up.  She had asked him to help us and he brought a broom.  He helped us clean up much faster, but as we got near the end, he reached out for the package.  I explained that I needed to pay for them since I had dropped them, but he said no that he would toss them and I should get some new ones.  Mom… everyone was so nice, the older lady who got someone to help us and the man who helped us and then said we didn’t have to pay for them even though we dropped them.”

          The ol’ preacher in me is thinking of the older woman who inspired an employee to help as embodying the Holy Spirit.  The employee who helped out and who insisted that my kids didn’t owe anyone anything seems a bit like a Christ figure.  But this blog isn’t intended to be a theological exploration.  No, the focus is about life with dementia.  As Ella described the words and actions of the strangers who helped her tonight, I felt such gratitude for those two individuals.  I don’t know who they are, but they helped her navigate one of her first unchaperoned grocery shopping experiences, an experience that well could have undermined her confidence and independence.  Instead, these two strangers gave her a gift of community and confidence. 

I don’t know when, but someday I’m gonna spill my blueberries.  And they are going to roll everywhere and scatter under things.  It’s a perfect image for how our routines and abilities will change once dementia takes hold.  Sometimes I wonder who will be the people helping me navigate life when the blueberries spill and roll everywhere.  Friends?  Relatives?  Church family?  Neighbors?  Someone I haven’t even met yet?  Ella’s account of these two strangers helping her tonight gives me such hope.  Sure, I need to make plans and all that, but I also need to remember that there are good people out there.  There are strangers who are kind and generous.  I’m gonna spill my blueberries in many places, at many times, most likely.  And I can only pray that I will do so in the company of people like my children met tonight.  And, I pray that I can be like those two people assisting the blueberry-spiller right up until the time that I spill the berries myself.  In fact, I hope that even after I start spilling my berries, I can still be a berry-picker-upper or a broom-finder or at least a friendly encouraging voice along the way. 

Those little plastic containers of blueberries sure do spill easily, and the berries sure can roll a long way.  But we are all in this together.  Thankfully. 

4 thoughts on “Spilling Our Blueberries

  1. “Oops All Berries!” If you don’t know the reference (as I didn’t and Jack and Chuck were incredulous at my ignorance!), you must look it up. An “accident” with a silver lining, one could say. A sweet ending to an unintended spill. Love the story and the thoughts and the perspective. As always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a gift for this Kendra . I wish you would spill words more often and let them role all over the place. I find them good and good for my soul. You captured the beauty of this ordinary event and and saw the extraordinary in it. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At least twice, at home, we’ve spilled the blueberries out of the plastic container you described. Patience is needed with one another for clean-up as it is for any other spills or accidents. Now every time I handle one of those containers of blueberries, I will think of you and Ella and the gift of kind people who show up in our lives, kindness, and grace shared from them is a gift of the Lord truly. Thanks for the story of this event with a theological loving perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

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