This summer has been a fairly dry one here in Corrientes, dry and hot, quite rare for this northern province in Argentina. Normally we are accustomed to stifling humidity and rain off and on through the 5-7 month-long season. Thankfully, after a run of days in the high 40s, God granted our prayers and brought down RAIN! Sparkling, cool, refreshing rain. And with the rain, our grape vine is looking stronger than ever.
It’s a funny thing, our grape vine; we have lived in this house for four summers and the first summer that we moved in, we picked (is that the right word? I’m not familiar with grape-lingo) buckets and buckets and literally more buckets of grapes off of our vine. However, last winter we had to cut the vine because it was tangled and getting out of control and things were growing all over the place, strangling the other plants. The grape vine was misbehaving, thinking it owned our back yard, and that it could do whatever it wanted with the other plants. And so… we cut it. Pruned down to a shrivly little trunk, peeking out from under the grated roof above our outside laundry sink. Of course neither my husband nor I know how to prune properlly and the next summer when we picked only one or two buckets of grapes, we thought that we must have killed the thing.
But low and behold! This summer… it is practically teeming with grapes! The vine has taken on a life of its own again, but this time in a more organized manner, growing in all the right places, hanging down just where it’s supposed to, and full of plump, green, shiny grapes! And not only are there grapes, but they are DE-LICIOUS! They are sweet, just the right bite to them, and come off the vine in beautiful clusters. In fact, we have so many grapes this year that we are going to pick them and take them by the bucket-full to the mission that we work at, so as not to let any spoil just because we cannot eat them fast enough.
This all reminds me of something that we very often experience in our own personal lives. In fact, I know quite a number that are going through what our grape vine went through, or what I many times have gone through, and will surely go through again. Many times our lives get out of control, things become tangled, our priorities become lost, and we find that we start to strangle, or suffocate, those around us with our mixed up desires and attitudes. Many times we are so focused on our own personal survival, as was this grape vine, that we reach out to wherever we can, just to find that we are barely hanging on and not producing a single good work. When we find ourselves in this state, or if somebody close to us is kind enough to show us the state that we are in, it becomes essential to “prune” our life back to the basics in order to begin to grow again, to be healthy and producing again. Now, this is not something that we can manage alone, if I prune my own life, I will pick off the bits that I deem as unnecessary but will always leave behind those bits that are so important to me, but really quite dangerous. Human beings are always, first and foremost, as we said, concerned with their own personal survival and therefore I will not prune anything that would hurt me in the process. This just won’t do. If we had only pruned the most top branches of the grape vine, the tangled branches below, the ones guiding the branches at the top, would remain. No, we need somebody to help us in this situation, somebody that can look at us with eyes of love, eyes of vision, eyes that see our true potential and worth, that will snip off everything and anything that is hindering our growth.
Aren’t we blessed to have that someone in our lives? It really amazes me how God can always see past our tangledness and help us to reach out to the heavens, growing way beyond anything we previously imagined. It is something so necesarry to return back to the last straight point in my life, cut out all that doesn’t belong, and start again. In the long run, it will be well worth it, as my life, just like my grape vine, will produce a fruit that is sweet, large in number, and a blessing to all.