Winter Approaches – Further Contemplation Under The Grapevine
Only a few weeks ago I wrote about the amazing quantity of grapes that began fruiting after I pruned the vines.
Now, as October slips away, my vines are yellowing and shedding leaves in preparation for winter. And still, many of the grapes are not yet ripe.
I stand under the arbor and look up at the still-ripening grapes. As the vines shed for winter some of the grapes shrivel without ever ripening. Many others seem to be ripening much more slowly than last summer. The days are cooler now. I suppose they can’t muster the energy to swell into juicy sweetness.
Look! This grape is plump and ripe. I pop it into my mouth. How juicy and sweet. Surely, this grape is sweeter than any I devoured throughout July and August. Tucked among the not-yet ripe grapes and the shriveled grapes I find a few more that are perfectly ripe. I eat slowly, savoring each grape as though it might be the last of the season.
Time: All of God’s creation is contained within Time. God created time. It is as though all that exists is contained within a book, and the book jacket reads TIME. We can only flip the pages forward. Time-travel truly is a one way journey.
We are the branches. We fruit. We are pruned. We fruit again with so much more promise. But time passes on. Things happen that we never saw coming. Situations change. The days seem too short and we haven’t the energy to ripen all our plans. Some dreams shrivel and fall away. Some are plucked from our hand by a hungry bird called Reality. Some will not have time to ripen before winter calls the branches to rest.
“Lord, what are you showing me with the bountiful branches that set fruit with so much promise? What is the point when so many will never ripen?”
I notice another ripe grape all but hidden behind the yellowing leaves. How good it tastes.
As the sweet juice fills my mouth the answer touches my thoughts. “Do not dwell on the fruit that will never ripen. Do not regret the ones that shrivel much too soon. Do not be angry that some are snatched from your hand by Reality. Savor those that have ripened and will ripen still. The quantity may not be what you wanted, for you wanted so much. Savor each ripe grape in turn. One grape is no less sweet than a handful. Each one is a blessing. Savor each fruit in turn.”