the story of a branch

attention, people of the internet; let’s do REALTALK for a moment or two here, okay? pour yourself a drink, settle in for a little bit, and stay with me here. i may not know much about some things, but i’ve learned a lot about knowing people, and something tells me i’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way lately.

i’m weary, y’all. weary of these false connections forged over computers, of the tapping of fingers on a keyboard, of likes + comments + notifications, of reading between the lines and flickering phone screens. i want more. i want relationships again. i want heart-and-soul connection, ones that are tangible, ones with skin on; i want what’s deep and real and rich and true.

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i wrote those words nearly three years ago and after all this time, i find myself coming around to them once more. because three years later, i’m even more weary than i was then. three years later, i’m frustrated and lonely and probably a little bitter, if we’re going to be completely honest. i’m tired of being an online “friend” only. i’m sick of the “like” button being the only interaction with people i used to know somewhere along the way. i’m sad there are so many walking alone on this new path in this new season. i’m angry at the divisiveness and distance of these days. i’m disappointed we’ve forgotten there are people who need us and ache to connect just as we do. we’re all in this thing together, after all, each of us stumbling our way through this crazy-beautiful, messy-glorious thing we call life.

what happened to us?

what happened to being a person and not a user name?

what happened to seeking as much as we’re saying, to listening as much as we’re answering?

what happened to being able to disagree politely, to trust another so implicitly that it’s okay to speak the hard truths because you know it’s coming from a place of good, a place of decency, a place of love?

where did we go wrong? and why is it that so many of us only choose to stay as long as we don’t disagree? differences of political parties or opinions on social issues or ways of living out one’s faith–why are these acceptable excuses to shut down our hearts and build the proverbial walls around them?

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so where do we go from here? quite honestly, i don’t know. but my truth is that my heart has been feeling a bit tender and bruised these days. my truth is that postpartum depression is real and it is scary. my truth is that i am a new mama in a new role in a new town in a new state, and change can be heavy and overwhelming for me. my truth is that there are good gifts in this season that give me such great joy but sometimes i feel alone in celebrating them. my truth is that i am weary of trying without results. my truth is that i need to guard my heart and soul…and step away.

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i have been meditating lately on the words of Jesus found in John 15, thinking about myself as a branch. and i have realized a stark truth: there are going to be times in my life when all i have is the Vine.

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

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.

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

“But remember the root command: Love one another. (v. 1-17, The Message)

so i guess that’s maybe where i’ll leave this. i’m off in search of Love again because it’s the only way any of us are going to make it through. and i’ll keep hoping and praying our branches will cross paths once more.

until my next signing on,
e.

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Photo from Creative Commons

1 Comment
  • Libby
    November 5, 2016

    I’ve been thinking so much about how we desperately need physical connection with our loves. Especially right now when the internet is used for screaming.
    I wish we lived closer. I’d bring over tea and hold your baby.

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