This is a guest article by Michelle Lozano. Her way of communicating how wine is relatable to marriage is captivating. I hope you enjoy her words as much as I do.
I watched a video recently about the wines of Oregon and how specific regions recently yielded some of the best wines in the state’s history. Certain perfect combinations of drainage in the hills, rock layers of the earth beneath the vineyards, the weather cycles, the rain cycles, and fermenting processes have created immense complexity and depth of what defines a great wine. Reading of all these things taught me just how artistically beautiful a glass of wine can be and how most people overlook the ocean of time and history corked within a bottle of Pinot Noir.
This is the same light beneath which I now look at marriage after an extremely difficult season my husband and I recently endured together. I have deeply resented every second of the past 13 months of our struggles. I have hated the turmoil, storms, flooding, and volcanic activity tearing up every corner of the world we’ve built together. Neither of us are the same people with the same perspective or the same faith anymore. Unlike a passing storm that can be tolerated with the kindness of friends or the comfort of family, there was no amount of kindness or comfort that helped us through the brutality of the past year, even with each other. I am not even sure, in retrospect, how we survived. But we did. And we are still here, left with a very uncomfortable, unfamiliar landscape where nothing is the same and never will be again.
I’ve challenged myself to always find a positive at the end of each day, no matter how small or how insignificant. In that challenge, I have begun to unearth a deeper side of life that I so often overlooked before this trial began. In my reaching, I found the story of the wines to be a beautiful thing so familiar to where we are now. It is said that certain areas of soil in the prized vineyards of Oregon are rich with mineral deposits and volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows, and in some places closer to the surface than others. The grapes are smaller and more concentrated due to the drainage. This combination, along with the right weather cycles, air funneling through the proper channels in the hills, and sun baths in the right amounts on the right days, has created grand works of art.
I have grasped the idea of volcanic soil being a rich heritage to a vineyard, instead of a dark era of its history. And perhaps this is the idea I have been missing during the burning, searing destruction of what has felt like lava flows right through the middle of the life we worked so hard to build. Perhaps what I missed during all those dark days and sleepless nights was the mineral richness it would bring to a new land we would soon walk on and are treading upon now.
No, it isn’t comfortable. No, there are no flowers in our midst or beautiful shade trees casting shadows and windows of light in perfect harmonies. There is only soil, as far as our eyes can see. There are no grapes to bottle yet, only hope of what may grow in the seasons ahead of us. And in this season, perhaps this is who we are called to be – winemakers full of hope. Perhaps the only mindset we are supposed to be in now is hope for the next rain to drench us in encouragement, hope for the next sun to pull us out of the soil and reach for a new day, hope for the next wind current to breathe upon us bouquets of gifts we may one day give to the world, and hope for the next harvest to be the richest, most treasured part of our story together. That is the hope I carry for us today, tomorrow, and the next day, that someday, someone will want a drop, a cup, or a bottle of our lives, and their lives will be richer and more blessed because of the vineyard of this grand story we have lived through.
I am learning, slowly and treacherously, that giving up my attempt to control the sun, the rain, and the wind currents, really is a magnificent thing. Only a Creator who knits with hands far above creation itself can weave together the deep complexities of a vineyard the way I see it being created now. A winemaker merely bottles what has been hand-crafted for him by a very generous God. And someday, when the season is right, I hope the rains of what we have endured in this season is the water chosen to be turned into the next magnificent wine of the Creator’s hands.
By Michelle Lozano