Saturday, February 23, 2013

Consider the Grapes

So this is going to be somewhat of an explanation of the absence of anything on this blog. But I hope it's more of a reason than an excuse.
I have been restless. I am restless.
You see, I've graduated college and gotten a great internship at the camp that I have loved serving so much for the last 4(ish) years. I love the people I work with. I love the actual camp. I love the mission and purpose that it stands for. I love it. But I am restless.
I don't want to tip-toe through life, being so over-cautious that I never learn to run. Never learn to fly. Fearing fear itself is a tar pit that I never want to fall into, so I had somehow translated that to meaning that if I wasn't living some shiny exciting life every second of every day, I wasn't "living life to the fullest." But full of what? I don't know, stuff. You know, just like stuff......yea.
I got my butt kicked recently from the memory of a message my college chaplain gave the seniors when  I was a junior (you know it was good when I get convicted again from the memory of it). He explained that there's these times in our lives, like college, where although it's fun and exciting, we can grow to become unsatisfied with the present because we're waiting in such eager anticipation of the future. I couldn't agree more. We want to know so badly where we'll be, who we'll be with, and even what impact we'll make on the world around us. But for now, we're stuck. Right here in the present. Yay. We want the ends, but we don't want to work through the means. The means are long. The means are boring. The means are sitting in some political studies class that you don't freaking care about (too specific?), or tediously inputing camper profiles into a database (again, too specific?), or making that awkward small talk to break the ice into that meaningful conversation. We don't like the means, but we love the end. It's as if we're on an impossibly slow raft that's floating to a gorgeous shore that's too far to feel close. And we just sit there. Restless.
But this is a bad metaphor. It's a pessimistic metaphor. I leave better metaphors to better men; which leads me back to my college chaplain. When talking about those chapters in our lives that make us restless, that is those times when we are thinking too fondly of what is ahead, we neglect to see the value in the now. The metaphor he used was how wine is made. Buckle up, this is good stuff.
He explained that the most important part of the process of making wine is, well, the process. The looong process.
Consider the grapes. They were meticulously grown and nurtured; pruned, harvested, cleaned, and hand-picked (along with other processes of wine making that I have no idea about) to be the best possible grapes to make that yummy classy Merlot juice. Same is true for all the other ingredients. But if you just used grapes, even if they were the best grapes possible, you'd end up with some glorified fermented Juicy Juice (and this time actually made with 100% juice). The best wines come from the perfect mix of ingredients, and more importantly, the loooong time just sitting in a cold, dark, dank basement. Newly made bottles of wine, just sitting there. Restless.
But there's the kick - they're not just sitting there. They're getting better and better with each passing second, minute, and year. Only in that long, boring, tedious waiting do those fermented grapes become fine wine. The wine is spending all that time soaking in every ounce of flavor that it never could have had without that time. So I have to stop being restless, and start soaking it all in. There's so much to soak in. Consider the grapes. Consider the birds.
Wait what? Birds? Yea I pulled a cheap fast one on you.  Because Jesus had something to say about all this. I'm restless when I'm living in fear of the unknown future (that whole "fear" thing is for another post, stay tuned ha), and yet I think about it too much and freak myself out in my anxiousness. Just waiting for that shore... But Jesus said outright to not be anxious. "Consider the birds. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, but yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" [Matthew 6:26-27] Dang. Suddenly feeling restless seems cheap, like a cop out. Why should I worry about my future, resulting in me neglecting my present, when I claim to serve the Author of time?
I told you I don't want to tip-toe through life. Shane Claiborne puts it this way, “All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don't tiptoe.” So, sorry I've been tiptoeing. I've been restless. But now I consider the grapes. 

Fill me up. Let me soak it in. Amen.