Hold Onto The Vine and Swing

Some days, you just hold onto the vine and swing!

I thought of Tarzan as I meditated on the next “I AM” scripture: I am the vine. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle was one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. I was totally hooked and so was my brother. We watched it every Saturday morning and often imagined ourselves as Tarzan or some of his friends when our mother demanded we get up off the couch, go outside and find something to do. We created the perfect jungle paradise in our wooded neighborhood. We tied ropes to trees and connected from tree to tree and from tree to treehouse. We built forts and dreamed about being able to talk with the chipmunks, birds and neighbor's cat.

In a similar way, I held onto the Vine this week…and swung! 

Tree One: Monday, Bill and I went to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to attend the funeral for my aunt who was my mother’s eldest sister. The visitation and service were held in the church my mother’s family has influenced for generations. We have some complicated family dynamics. I wasn’t truly aware of how very stressed I was until afterwards. We did get to open our cabin for the season. All in all, we spent 24 hours at the lake, got into our vehicle and drove 6 hours home.

Tree Two: Wednesday, I drove to LaSalle to officiate for the funeral service and burial of a dear friend. I met her when I officiated at the funeral and burial of her husband fifteen years ago. Over the years, I had the privilege of officiating at her grandson’s wedding and the baptism of their twin sons. She was part of my dissertation group and was a huge support to me in ministry. She was very much a second grand mother to me and much more the friend I needed. She always told me I was special. She always believed in me. She never gave up on me. I used 1 Corinthians 13 for the scripture.

Jungle underbrush: Paint teams began the exterior and interior work at Naperville campus! My brother and I negotiated the sale of my mother’s house in Madison this week. We received eight offers. The real estate agents were amazing. They connected us with cleaning crews and professional teams to help sell property. My cousin came to visit Wednesday night with her husband. They stayed the night and left early Thursday morning to attend the graduation ceremony of their daughter-in-law from graduate school in Indy.  Deb Lionberger and I have been working through emails to get Invitation and Visa letters to the US Embassy in China, India, Tanzania, Jordan and Poland. Wheatland is hosting an event that includes five of our Faith Promise Partners in August for a Leadership Learning Lab. This a whole new process for Deb and I. She has been an incredible trooper through it all. Leading the Dominican Republic mission team is a daunting task. Details, finances, individual needs and praying daily for each participant is never far from my mind.

Now, I’ve included you in my little jungle feature. But, I know you do the same thing. Maybe not every week but you swing from that vine, too. It is a huge comfort to me to know Jesus probably figured us out long ago. Jesus already knew how demanding our life can be. I believe he had us in mind when he said, "“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Grab onto that vine and swing!

Pastor Jen