This Friday's RevGalBlogPals' Friday Five asks us to free-associate using the following words, taken from this coming Sunday's lectionary readings:
vineyard: When I was a kid my experience of grapevines was limited to the wild ones that meandered through the brush along the side of the road and the sprawling Concord vine, covering a length of fence and taking over the nearby yardlight pole, that my aunt and uncle had in their backyard. So when I first saw an actual vineyard, I was shocked at how short and stubby and frankly ugly the grapevines were; it seemed impossible that so many grapes could come from these unpromising rows of gnarled stumps. Thinking about it, though, especially as I try to live a more mindful and ordered life -- what a metaphor for the benefits of wresting order from chaos; for selective pruning of those parts of our behaviors and reactions to life that aren't necessary, that draw the life away from that part of ourselves that's creative...that's fruitful. Although once in awhile we also need to get away to those wild, tangled woodland vine arbors for refreshment and inspiration.
root: Roots have been on my mind lately because my container tomatoes -- which is all of them, because keeping them in pots close to my house is the only way I can protect them against marauding deer -- are becoming potbound at this point of the year. Their soil has become a solid root-sponge; I have to constantly water and feed the containers to keep the plants alive. The same thing seems to happen to our spiritual roots when we deprive ourselves of the soil of Word and Sacrament and when we don't give ourselves room to move intellectually or emotionally or relationally in our faith lives -- we become potbound; stunted; sickly; easily dried up.
rescue: Once upon a time, when I was exploring alternative forms of medicine, I bought myself a little bottle of a Bach elixir called Rescue Remedy, to use when I was feeling anxious and scattered. (The Bach flower remedies are -- and I'm sorry if I offend anyone here -- a little bit of homeopathic hoo-doo; the Bach people shake and dilute, and shake and dilute, and shake and dilute, to an exponential degree, tiny amounts of plant material until, they claim, one is left with the "essence" of the plant. They then mix this water with brandy in a little bottle. You're supposed to squirt a few drops of this substance on your tongue to derive the medical benefits of this "essence.") Anyway, the Rescue Remedy did not rescue me from my next bout of acute anxiety. And that's what I think of when I think of rescue -- a feeling of relief and closure and beating back chaos.
perseverance: I used to work in an office with an ex-Marine whose favorite exclamation, whenever he was frustrated or confused or under a deadline, was, "Persevere!" I have to say -- while that particular job was forgettable, I often find myself falling back on his self-reminder when I am in a jam.
divided: On one hand I think of unhealthy divisions, like the various issues that divide faith communities. On the other hand, I also think of my perennials, and how if some of them, like irises, aren't divided from time to time, they tend to lose their vigor and fade away.
(Note to the RevGals: As helpful as it sometimes is to think about The Big Things, I'm ready for some fun and frivolous Friday Fives again...just a suggestion!)