Into the Wine Press

I sit here with the sun setting behind me burning my neck and think of the dandelions I’ve been gathering all this time.  Some full-bloom in my hand, some dried out and blown out, their seeds wafted God-knows where and for what aim.  Dandelions. The very commonplaceness of their existence, the stubbornness of their seeding, the absolute frustration they are to most gardeners seeking to landscape their yards into beauty is what allures the parallelism to my life.

Not many people intentionally plant dandelions, hence the flower/weed description, their love/hate status in the gardening realm. But whoever figured out they make a heck of a wine was a genius. That’s when their beauty, their purpose comes alive. . . when, like golden rain,  they are poured into a winepress, dipped into pure rain water and churned into the sunny liquid to be capped and bottled for the waiting, for the wear of the years. And then in a later day, finding in the cellar the label 2011 and discoveing the smell and savor of those forgotten days has changed, been refined and weathered to be fit for a quenching drink.

Bent over, looking down my nose at the grass, plucking my ordinary dandelion days, I gather sometimes in fear, sometimes in hope, a few times in love, and a lot of times in so much pain I feel like I am gathering thorns.  And while the painful times make me doubt the fruit of the labor, it is standing before The Wine Press that gives each day its worth and me, the messy gatherer, a breath, a heartbeat, a mind, a soul . . . life. Keeping the silly dandelions on my sack accomplishes nothing (though I’ve done it) except brimming my eyes with tears as I watch them die. So I come to the One true God, the Winepress of my life and pour out my ordinary weeds, my dandelions and the astounding thing occurs. Eugene Peterson put it well in his Romans 12 paraphrase:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the biggest thing you can do for Him.
Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out [. . .] The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him.

Embracing what He does for me then–the making of wine from my inadequate flowers–is the aim here. So I write of the harvesting and of the pouring out into His Wine-Press-hands all of the gatherings to hold, dismantle and churn, to mature and transform “a common flower, a weed that no one sees” into a delicate wine that is “like summer on the tongue” (Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine).

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