The Jesus Tree: A Backyard Metaphor

Aug 3, 2015

Grapevine climbing onto Rose of Sharon

This blog turns four years old this month and I wonder: Have I run out of meaningful things to say? Am I repeating myself? I told a friend I had writer’s block the other day, and she said I should write about having writer’s block. And I replied:

“I already have.” (A Writer’s Block-Head)

Writer’s block is like catching a cold. You’re miserable and you wonder where it came from. I just went to a speaker/writer’s conference, because I wanted to learn how to speak well, and to jumpstart my writing. At the airport I  looked at the writer’s seminar outlines and took a deep breath in. As usual, I’m doing everything wrong, and I closed the book that I paid hundreds for. Did I catch it there?

I also suspect that general summer malaise has much to do with it. Having a fan blow on high two feet from your face so the sweat doesn’t drip onto the keyboard while you dream of the frozen food section at Stop and Shop, is distracting. And when it’s nice out, like when the humidity dips below 90, I want to go outside, instead of sitting hunched over in my study in front of a blank page, while the fan’s white noise obscures every sound of life.

Most people I know are in the middle of some tangled mess. Not a crisis maybe, but life has stalled or derailed. The kids are sick or in trouble, the money flow has dried to a trickle and dreams roll off towards the horizon…going, going, all gone. I watch people I love settle for so much less than what I believe God wants for them, because we just get lost and wonder, “How did I end up here?” At one time pulsing with new life straight from the vine, the Life-blood of Jesus Christ, fruitful and filled with creative spark; now the branch has withered, or shot off into obscurity, becoming frail and impotent. So we say, “Well, maybe I was a little crazy for thinking God could do that, or that I could ever be used in that way.” Like when I go to conferences. I compare myself to others, all the other women that seem to be so connected with lots of friends and published books and clever marketing tools. And I feel my branch begin to wither.

In my back yard, which I see from my purple desk with drawers that stick shut when summer comes, I watch our own grapevine sprout from a gnarled gray trunk into a magnificent plant that explodes 30 feet to the left and right. A lot of pruning the last few years has trained it to bear fruit, last year perhaps 100 lbs. of Concord grapes. Behind the fence, which holds the massive vine, is a Rose of Sharon tree, twenty feet tall, with a cascade of white flowers from each branch. And every year, right about now, the vine reaches out for the tree, latches on, and begins to merge its crazy branches into the white flowers and the strong arms of the Rose of Sharon. I call this my Jesus Tree; the wayward branches of the Vine reaching up into the arms of the Rose of Sharon, another common metaphor for Jesus. It makes me smile and remember what I need.

According to the Blogging list of Do’s and Don’ts I’ve already failed by exceeding the 500 word limit and using a blatantly simple metaphor. I should stop here but I haven’t made a point yet. Or maybe I have. Dreams…they don’t have to disappear. Just return to the Source and make them His, not yours. Nobody likes to be pruned.

Evan Hopkins noted, “The true life, that which triumphs over sin and ‘does not cease from yielding fruit’ is a life that springs up out of death.”

So as turns four, I yield my soul, my words and this blog to Him. And wait. For you, precious reader, who may be faithful to this blog or maybe brand new, I will depart by following a suggestion from the Bloggers list of Do’s – sorting out 10 of my most favorite blogs I have written over the last four years. Enjoy, dream dreams then release them to Jesus. And wait with me, dear sojourner. He is about to do something way beyond our very wildest dreams.

A summer reading list:

1. Rosie the Rescue Dog

2. Poor in Spirit

3. And Wonders of His Love

4. Grumpy Old Men

5. Bruno’s Birthday

6. Staying With Your Feet

7. Gorillas and Tea Parties

8. The Visit

9. Fear No Evil

10. True Love 101