>>vines and being

I started counseling again yesterday.

Throughout my life I’ve had an idealized vision of what my life should be like, and I’ve striven with all my efforts to bring it to reality.

I have been on the border of breakdown recently. This pressure shouldn’t be held by man. There are bigger hands to hold them.

My friend Woody, called me yesterday and lovingly said, “Ross i’m concerned about you. You are searching for relief through counseling, nutrition, creating new routines- it’s all about what you can do. You’ve forgotten to surrender- to surrender to who you are to BE.”

That night my counselor said something similar. He said, “You can’t make yourself and your life into who you need them to be. You just BE and your life grows into what it’s meant to be.”

I sat in my car outside of a forlorn subway store today, eating my sandwich and thinking about all this. A fence was in front of me, and was completely overgrown with Kudzoo vines.

The vines don’t strive or labor over decisions and actions. They just grow- because those are the instructions built into them. But this invasive species is infamous in the South for infesting and destroying ecosystems. What if my life becomes this- a consuming, self-serving force that suffocates everything i can find by just doing what i am built to be.

And then i thought of grape vines. I remember them in two disparate stages: as pathetic looking plants, sickly trimmed and strung up to a support wire. The other image is of these same vines bearing heavy, pregnant loads of rich, nutritious fruit. Same plant, two different seasons, two completely different images.

Perhaps we are to grow like vines. We merely need to be who we were made to be, and let time take us into our futures. But I think there is a big difference between the all-consuming kudzoo vines and the simple, trimmed grape vines. The difference is surrender to a gardener.

So when I sit in quiet, and see the flaws in my roots, a simple decision must be made. I can continue to reach and strive and consume everything around me like part of me is inclined to doing, or I can surrender to the gardener and let him prune it from me. And though i may look dry and skeletal hung up on a rugged support for a while, like a man on a cross, in due season my fruit will be full and true and pregnant with heavy, abundant life that may even be food to the hungry.

So when I approach the verge of breakdown the next time i will be drawn to a silent place. And there I will look at the flaws in my soul, and my voracious appetite to solve them. But if i surrender to the quiet voice speaking to my little rotten roots i will hear him say, “be patient, Ross, I am doing a good work, and in due season you will bear my fruit, my blood, and my life to the world. And you will find peace.”

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