Michigan ~ Day 50

Yes, I was grouchy this morning. It didn’t quite help that people came in before 11 wanting to buy bottles. And it also didn’t help that the first thing that Benjamin wanted to talk about was the death penalty, on which we completely do not agree.

I jumped at the chance to work out in the vineyards, since things were pretty slow in the tasting room.

Working in the vineyards has afforded me a great deal of time to be meditating on Christ’s use of the grapevine as a model for us, for the Church.

Our vines are in their second growing season, and they should have been trained much earlier on; we are at a point in the process that we should have been at the week that I got here. It’s ok – we’re only learning about all of this together, and hopefully it won’t hurt too much in the long run – but they’re plants. When comparing them to souls, the question that comes to mind is, “Is this too little too late?”

Because the vines are so far along, what we’re now dealing with are anywhere between three and ten vines creeping along the ground from a single point in the ground. At each of these points is a bamboo stake. Posts are in between every four bamboo stakes or so, on which are hooks which hold up the trellising wires, which I’ve blogged about before. We have to search through these vines for the strongest vine, which we train as the lead vine by tying it upright along the bamboo stake. All the other vines are trained fanned out along the wires. Thoughts on the main challenges that present themselves to me with vines this old:

  • Searching for a lead vine takes time, and it is not immediately apparent. Do you pick the longest, the thickest, the most centered, what? What criteria do you use? With each set of vines, you have to look at it from a different angle and choose for different reasons. ~ How does God choose us to fill different roles, what qualifies us for the call? But then, God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the call.
  • Since the vines have been creeping along the ground, they’ve been stretching out their fingers and gripping on to anything they can reach, whether they be grass or weeds or pieces of dead wood or even each other. ~ We are so eager to grow. But if we are not trained from an early age – if our consciences are not properly formed – we reach out and grab onto anything and everything we can.
  • Vines inherently love and seek the sun, but have been offered no previous direction, and so creep along the ground. ~ We inherently seek God, but can very easily become tangled up in weeds if offered no direction.
  • The vines have to be handled so carefully. You can’t just tug and expect it to let go of all the weeds and grass; you have to search along the vine for its anchors and gently untangle their fingers one by one, or the vine could break off altogether. ~ People who have been allowed to go along the wrong direction for a significant length of time can’t be led or helped to change overnight. It is a slow and sometimes agonizing process, and both you and they risk losing parts – hurting – in the process.
  • Sometimes the vines are tangled up in each other, hindering each other from growing, either by preventing another vine from growing out in the direction that they ought, or a stronger vine choking a weaker vine. I find weak, browned spots along vines that have been tangled along others. ~ What a metaphor for holy detachment. These vines are supposed to work together to produce good grapes for a harvest that can be unified in the winemaking process, yet if they are too close to each other, they can hurt each other; sometimes once you’ve searched along them and freed them, you find that they are supposed to naturally fan out in opposite directions. Sometimes we get too focused on each other instead of on Christ and reaching for Him and leading each other to Him. Sometimes we keep each other from growing. Sometimes we need to be apart to allow each other to grow as we are meant to grow.
  • Some of the vines are strong and clearly just dying to stand, requiring only one or two ties along the stakes/wires, while others are so long, but either so heavy or so weak, that they require being tied at up to five different points along the stake and wires. ~ Each of us is unique, and God’s love for each of us is unique. Not more, or less, but unique. The care and attention that we require from parents and parent-figures is unique to our unique personality, not a question of needing more or less love from a parent, but a unique love, and a unique handling, a unique approach at direction and training. What ‘works’ with one child may or may not ‘work’ with the other. Why would you expect it to be the same all across the board?

I’m sure there were other things I thought of, and I got to share them with Mother. We talked for a bit while I was having dinner, but we got cut off. That didn’t suit me at all, so even though the olympics were on and some of the other interns were watching and it seemed nice and comfortable and cozy, I headed to the beach and just lay there, watching the sunset and laughing my head off with Mother. I guess Mama found my post from two days ago pretty funny… =D

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