March 16, 2018
Sometimes life goes sideways. You know the right thing to do and you fully intended to do it but life got in the way. Something else happened. Someone else needed your attention more and the first task was laid aside to attend to the second.
This was the case with one of my vines (and one of my friendships). I knew she needed support. It just never happened at the right time so I let her go and she grew sideways. She was named by some people we had known for years. In all honesty, she was bent when she was chosen but they thought it was cool. So I let it go longer.
Today I had to make a vineyard management decision. I cut her down.
She still bore fruit while growing sideways but one idea nagged at me and wouldn’t let me go.
It is not loving
to allow her
to remain bent
Now is that time. It is late in the dormant season and the buds have not yet broken through. The trunks and last year’s shoots are slightly pliable.
The first time I had to do this it devastated me. Now when I have to cut one down I am reminded that the plant is a vine. It wants to grow. The roots are still growing and its stump is still living just like the stump of Jesse in the Bible. It will survive to be better than it was before.
I farm this vine. I have everything I need to make her life better. The LORD farms His people. His abundant resources and willingness make a better life for them as well.
Here’s what I did:
- Cleaned my hand saw with Lysol concentrate. Rinsed the tool with water. Wiped with the concentrate. Let it stand about ten minutes. Rinsed off tool so that no Lysol residue remained.
- Made the cut. Cut at an angle above the very first node. Left two shoots at the base with three buds.
- Sealed the wound. My first choice for wound sealer would be pine tar. It has antifungal properties that are useful here in our cool climate. But since I didn’t have that around, my second choice was to seal the wound with wax. I used an old discarded candle held to a flame and gradually moved the candle around so that the dripping wax would cover the entire surface of the wound. It’s not a perfect solution but its better than nothing for now.
- Chose which of the two shoots I wanted to train up as the next trunk
- Set a metal U-channel post for its support. I have used grow tubes in the past but don’t prefer them. They attract bugs that do not benefit the vine and become a breeding ground for algae, moss, and fungus all of which I fight against here on our cool weather site. Vines trained up in grow tubes tend to be weaker initially as well. Yep. Not a fan. Use metal where you can.
- One last thing. The buds I’ve chosen need to be positioned in the sun. They will be healthier that way and grow stronger shoots which is what we’re aiming for in a trunk.
Don’t be afraid to correct the vines. It will be better for both of you in the long run.
Ps – Here’s an update.
One shoot grew up and made top wire height. I was so proud of her for rebounding nicely until one day in July when I noticed that shoot was dying. (Today is July 15, 2018)
Dead center in the vineyard something was horribly wrong. There was a whorl of thriving shoots at the base but the intended trunk had failed. Slowly I inched my fingers down the sickly stalk to locate the problem. There was definitely a problem at the very bottom of it. Somehow bugs and disease had eaten away through the tender new growth of just this one. This chosen and amazing one.
Days later I looked with fresh eyes. Maybe there is still a shoot worthy of training up. There was. Directly opposite of the first cut was a small shoot bringing with it a vestige of hope. That one tiny cluster of grapes made me so happy. “Come here, you.” I said and tied it up to the metal post. “Now we wait to see what will come of you.”
I cannot escape the relationship this vine has had with me as the LORD used it for lessons in a relationship gone sideways. It seemed like there wasn’t any hope. Our ways parted.
Then at a Community Worship Event out here on the Key, a preacher was talking about unity in the body of Christ. My heart turned to grieving over this broken relationship. “But I didn’t do anything wrong” I told the LORD privately. “I just wasn’t the friend she wanted me to be. Should I have to apologize for being myself … For not dropping my life to be who she wanted me to be?!”
There is a process to unity, the preacher said.
- Not knowing
My friends and I were both pretty needy. We began at point five and got stuck there… essentially growing sideways. Just like the vine, our relationship won’t change until some difficult choices are made and we begin the relationship anew, from the bottom up. Or like another pastor said, in order ” ’cause that’s how numbers work.”
The vine needed me to see the good still living in it. It needed me to gently tie hope to love’s support. My friends need that too.
So here’s today’s challenge. Look for the good. There just might be hope.
Live Blessed & Fruitful