Okay, so it’s not an oak, it’s a maple. Brad noticed it growing up between the garage and the compost box (in a 3 inch wide space) a few years ago. Standing true and straight, protected (and probably fed) by the compost box, the tree grew to about 6 feet tall before Brad transplanted it. As he dug it up last fall, he saw that the base and the roots were twisted because of the garage’s foundation. He gently carved away at the base, trying not to damage the roots. After planting it, we waited all winter wondering if the fragile tree would make it. This spring…still standing tall…still very fragile…the maple has leaves! The volunteer sapling with the damaged root system survived.
“Zee grrrapes, zay haf to sufair to prodoos zee finest vine in zee vurld.” ~some, hard to understand French woman on a PBS travel show
The host of the travel show was in Burgundy, France talking with a wine maker. She, the vintner, was showing him the centuries old vineyards and explaining why Burgundy wine is so wonderful and rare. The soil is awful and the environmental conditions less than ideal for most plants. She went on to say that the grapes have to suffer…that when the vines have to work to grow in the harsh environment they pick up unique, special flavors not found anywhere else in the world. The suffering grapes produce one of kind wine.
“With a very dry and strong southerly wind blowing, we could use some moisture…”
~Dave Winslow, Weather guy on KTIV
Living on the Great Plains, we’re used to, shall we say, strong air currents. But even by Iowa’s standards, we’ve experienced brutal, sustained winds the last 2 1/2 days and nights. I spent all day Saturday planting flowers and tomatoes and dividing perennials…would the fragile plants survive the onslaught…I wondered. I tried to keep them watered; I moved the ones I could to more protected areas, but some just had to endure the harsh, dry winds. I was sure my tomato plants would snap. Sleeping with the windows open, I woke up about 3 a.m. to quiet; the winds finally died down. First thing this morning, I stepped out to check on my plants. I think they’ve made it. The tomatoes didn’t snap and the others were already straighting back up. The wind swept little plants endured.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus, John 16:33
I don’t know what your story is, but we’ve all experienced tight spots that damage our root system, less than ideal growing conditions, and dry hot winds that threaten to snap us off at the base. We all have times in our lives of fragility. Times when standing tall seems impossible, fruit non-existent and growth unattainable.
“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us….” ~Paul, Romans 5:2b-5a
I know sometimes it feels like no amount of character building seems worth the pain. But whatever your struggle today, I do believe (for myself and for you) that He is shaping you into an oak…cultivating one of a kind grapes in your heart…and giving you a strong foundation to endure the winds to come…not so you’ll be happy or so you won’t have to suffer anymore, but for His glory and renown.