As humans, we don’t like pain. We can be easily overwhelmed by persistent or unexpected pain. Our culture has developed all kinds of ways to substitute, medicate, replace and avoid pain. Yet what if the pain was not something to steer clear of? What if pain had a greater purpose than causing us agony and discomfort?
This thought was brought to light for me during a drive through hillside vineyards. Row after row, field after field, hillside after hillside of grape vines were visible in every direction. I learned that the vines are severely pruned right down to the rootstock each fall. This enables the vine to begin growing new branches again each spring. These new branches will produce the large, lush bunches of grapes that will be harvested for wine, which will eventually be exported to many parts of the world.
If the branches from previous years were permitted to remain, the vine would produce fruit of decreasing quality until it was no longer useful for making wine. The only way the vines continue to produce the maximum fruit year after year is to endure the severe pruning. (more…)