Wisdom, like lightning, strikes against the cloud storms of my heart once again:

Not long ago I learned that the best wine comes from grapes that experience an especially difficult season, be it drought or flooding. The drastic change in weather unleashes something in the grapes that produces an exceptional wine.

The paraelles to life are too significant to overlook. We all know people who have walked through difficult seasons–with rain that doesn’t seem to end, or dryness and heat that cracks the earth. Some become bitter and resentful and die on the inside.

But those who chose to sink their roots deep into God’s Word and show up even after reaching the end of their physical limitations and emotional capacities are the ones who have learned intimacy with God. They walk through rather than run away—or numb away—from disappointment, grief and despair. They abide or remain in the vine, even when the environment is extreme. And as a result, they display a beauty emanating from deep places.

These people become the exceptional wine, set apart in flavor and quality. They stand out. We admire them for strong character. That character comes through difficulty, discipline, and not giving up when circumstances threaten to take away life.

In wine country, some grapevines are over one hundred twenty-five years old. They no longer need to be watered. The root system runs twenty to thirty feet underground. The grapes produced from these vines are faithful, dependable, certain. And year after year, these grapes produce exceptional wine.

from Vivian Mabuni’s Warrior in Pink

I want to be that vine, that wine. But it is so easy to run away, to dismiss reality, to be in denial and deny the roots of my soul to plunge into nutrient Word-earth.

I remember being 6 and wrapping up a small, small seed in an ordinary wet paper towel, ziplocking their union in a plastic sandwich bag and being amazed that the seed still grew, still sprouted! And yet I knew in my 6 year old heart that the growth, the roots were minute compared to what they could have been if the seed had been plunged into soil.

I know I sometimes—most of the time—wrap my heart into the wet paper towel instead of the rich Word-earth, denying myself growth, roots. Fool! All in attempts to distract, to numb, to runaway.

Why is it that I believe I can’t face my thoughts, or deny myself to face them? Why do I mute them and smoother them with the ordinary wet paper towel? Somewhere in me believes that ignoring, denying will be more freeing, more hope-giving for me. But in fact, its the opposite. Recall, young Jenna, that the roots of your heart, your thoughts, will still grow, grow in the worry-wet paper towel. Those small roots will grow into gates—the opposite of your so-thought-of freedom, shutting you off of hope.

So I want to be that vine, that wine. Uproot my heart and transplant it back into the soils it was always orginally made for and watch my heart and thoughts grow and germinate into productivity: fruit.
Fruit of the mind: freedom, peace, wisdom, understanding.
Fruit of the heart: love.


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