~ The following story came forth upon awaking from a nap... during the early 90's. During that season of my life... I was going through a great pruning in my own life... (some would refer to as a Job experience or dark night of our soul and spiritual senses). It brought me great comfort and understanding... encouraging me to continue with a greater measure of peace and faith having been awakened deep within. I soon recognized one of the many ways God's Spirit speaks to me is through the inspired writing which come through me.  ~


Grampus is the wisest man I know. I have always believed this about him...and as he has grown with age... my own eagerness to sit with him and listen have grown as well.  

One of the ways he makes conversation so interesting is his knack of comparing life to experiences we can see and identify with through stories.  He sincerely believes our outward life reflects our inner life and if we pay close attention... we can hear the voice of God gently speaking to us.  Grampus's passion is to point out the symbolic significance of just about everything that happens, and I find this way of being to be absolutely fascinating. Grampus calls it the way of the Spirit.

I remember an occasion when I was a young adult and I was becoming bitter because I was coming to the conclusion life just wasn't fair, and I was angry about it.  It seemed as though the bitterness found its outlet by manifesting itself with persistent heartburn, which rose up and burned my throat.

Grampus would become unusually restrained when I would complain... and such mannerisms told me a story was brooding deep within... waiting for its moment of birth.  I too waited with anticipation.   

One afternoon while I was complaining once again... Grampus began leading me on a walk... towards his small vineyard.

"You know those grapevines of mine," he began.  Grampus didn't wait for an answer... he knew I respected him and he would have a captive audience. One of the reasons he can capture my attention so thoroughly, is because he never initiates conversations unless he believes he has something worth saying.  Most of the time he's the one listening and he goes unnoticed by those who do not seek him out.

On that day he said... "You know those grapevines of mine?  They've given me a lot of fruit over the years.... know why? Because the one aim of their existence is to produce fruit.  We could all learn a lot from nature if we were more aware of the lessons they live out right in front of our eyes.  If we were attentive we'd be more teachable, but most folks aren't even awake or they refuse to let anyone else turn on the light for them, simply because they want to learn their own way... or flat out don't like to learn.... because they enjoy the darkness, having gotten use to it."

I remember sensing he was silently pleading with me to try to understand on a deeper level still... so I listened more intently... having learned from experience there was always something to be gained by one of our conversations. 

"Yet to bear fruit, my vines had to go under severe pruning and training." Already knowing how he thinks metaphorically, I was sure he wasn't just referring to his grapes, so I settled back on a nearby rustic bench to take in all he was going to say.  

"You know," he grinned, as he saw my attentiveness, "if I hadn't done my job as the vine dresser, well.... they wouldn't have been so fruitful."

I can see him now, pausing as if in deep thought.  By then I had grown to know this was his way of getting me to think about what he might really be saying to my inner me, the most important part of me, he was fond of saying.  He had consciously brought me to the place where I was expected to ask a question, if I had one, so he could make sure I was following his train of thought and really thinking about what he was saying.  If I was losing him, he'd gently bring me back without the slightest bit of embarrassment, before he would continue.

Although our silent moments together were ones of deep pleasure, I eagerly listened when after a few minutes he said, "I'm sure you remember the story about the year I had to leave our farm for a while to take care of my brother Bill's family.  Their crisis took precedence over everything, and someone else had to tend my young vines for me that season. I understand now, in hindsight, how it was necessary for that to happen.  Even though it was hard on your Grammy and I and all concerned, a lot of good came out of Bill's misfortune." he said, wiping his eye glasses clean before continuing... pausing once more that I might be given the chance to reflect.

"It never ceases to amaze me how we are all so interconnected." he said in a quiet tone, almost as an afterthought.... I knew by now... this was his way of planting a seed for another crop of wisdom, he so freely offered those who desired a future harvest.

I was wondering what he understood that I had yet to experience when I heard him say, "One lesson I was to learn was what can happen when my vines are not tended properly. See, if you don't tend to each branch, their own self directed energies will drain them of the energy they would have used otherwise to produce fruit."  

He leaned closer, his eyes fixed on mine, "I needed to severely prune back my vines, much more than I was doing and Bill's family crisis... it turned out, would be the perfect circumstance to teach me that lesson. Grams was keeping me abreast as to what was happening while I was with them and I was positive I'd lost my vines the way she described the severity of pruning that was taking place while I was busy elsewhere.  Events were forcing me to let go of my control over my vines and to trust someone with more experience... and I didn't like it one bit." he winked at me giving me a look only we understood, as he stopped talking to tend one of his vines as if they were one of his children who had just called for him. I waited eagerly for him to continue.

"I'll never forget the day Grams told me He's pinching off all the fruit on each branch, but one cluster. One cluster!" he emphasized. Again he stopped and waited for me to think, and respond as he continued to fuss over his much loved plants.

"You mean," I remember asking, "he picked off bunch after bunch of unformed grapes and wasted them?"

Grampus rewarded me with that wonderful smile and laugh of his and said, "That's exactly what I thought. Yet, when I got back, I found I had a larger weight of even sweeter grapes in that one bunch, than I would have had in all those little bunches, had he left them on. You see child..." 

I knew he'd finally gotten to where he had been taking me.  Now I was going to hear and understand the wisdom he was attempting to impart in to my life... through his story... founded on his belief that nothing happens by accident.  Grampus is absolutely sure there is a loving power that controls all circumstances for our benefit and this is the perspective he experiences life through.  Once again, I waited patiently for him to continue while he took off his eyeglasses and wiped the sweat off his brow.... a smile of satisfaction gleaming through his gentle eyes.

"While I was with Bill's family," he finally continued, "I realized we were each being trained and pruned by the hand of God Himself.... I could see.... if we would just yield to the circumstances we found ourselves having, what might be painful at the time would be fruitful later on.  I understood deep within, each of us were like branches that had been allowed to grow, but it was obvious we were in sore need of tending after having already borne fruit in the past... and we were being prepared for a new season in our lives by the circumstance which was happening to us.  It occurred to me we were fighting growth.... we were fighting change.   When anything threatened us, we'd complain.  None of us could see how anything good could come out of this crisis.  Our clusters were being pinched and we were responding with depression and anger at times and bitterness was attempting to take root deep within.  I'm positive, if anyone took a bite of the fruit of our lives at that moment, they'd taste nothing but a mess of bitter grapes.  I for one hate sour grapes... How about you darling?"

In hindsight, I recognize the spirit of my mind was influenced by inexperience and vain imaginations... especially when compared to the years of wisdom Grampus had absorbed.... yet, I knew, even then, there was far more to what He was saying than I was able to comprehend....  or even begin to understand deep within... as the taste of bitterness in my throat that had earlier consumed me began to disappear, never to return.

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