The roses seem to have lasted no time at all this year (Or do I think that every year maybe?) I feel so sad to watch the winds of the last few days blow down first one or two, then great wads of velvety petals, still beautiful, still fragranced with heaven. My rose bushes seem so bare now – it seems such a waste – feels like the end of something.
But then I am prompted to think that the rosehips cannot begin to form and then ripen until the petals fall; that it is all a process! (Many many years ago, with the children, I picked loads of luscious shiny red hips, which we then put through an old fashioned mincer and boiled up with water and sugar to make vitamin-rich rosehip syrup. We didn’t do it again – it was very hard work, especially at the mincing stage, and the children said they preferred blackcurrant!)
Where my mother lives, there’s a fig tree next door whose branches reach out over the carpark of her Sheltered Home. Every visit we make from this time of year on, I look to see whether any figs have reached that wonderful stage of purple squishiness that tastes so delicious, but it seems to take ages and ages (and anyway I compete with my tall sister’s alternate visits, and she can reach the best ones that always seem out of my reach!) It takes a long time to wait for the blossom to fall and the fruit to form doesn’t it, whether on the apple or pear tree, or in our lives.
I took heart this week when I read some words by Ann Lewin
Age does not have to mean
Diminishment. There may well be
Constraints, but there is also
Space and time for patient
Prayerful growth to
Jesus’s incredible teaching on fruitfulness, as only recorded in John 15, uses the vivid picture of He as the grapevine, our Father as the gardener, and us as the grape-bearing branches (some of them very old and gnarled!)
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
The Message puts it like this
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”
So let’s not feel too sad at the passing of the petals, but patiently hang on in there, closer and closer to Him.