Your heart on a platter is nothing compared to this
The banner headline read, “Mothers, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Writers.”
“There,” said my supervisor, handing me the newspaper folded open to the editorial, “you might want to read that.”
She knew my desire to write. In fact, I was a writer, if blogging and annual Christmas newsletters to friend and family merited that title. My desire, of course, was to write more. A book. Multiple books. Ones that would change the world. Even though I had no idea what writing such a thing would entail, I knew I wanted it.
Yet, writing has got to be the most disheartening profession in the world. I don’t mean reporting and newswriting or technical writing or that ilk. I mean writing – and sharing your writing – when it comes from the heart.
It’s like offering your heart on a platter, although a platter suggests you have people gathered around to make a meal of what you offer. No, sharing your writing is like offering your heart as wine at a wine-tasting event. You may have people gathered, but your wine is one in a million (or five or thirty) – and not in a good way.
As writers, we try to share our writing in a world where so much is vying for the attention of our readers. We are that one in a million of other writers, videographers, meme makers, artists, celebrities, and more trying to engage with readers. Our stories a vintage of wine offered at a wine tasting.
Can you picture it?
The first time I went to a wine tasting was at my son’s wedding. His was a destination wedding in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains. We boarded a tour bus for a day visiting a winery, a brewery, and a cidery with family and friends who had come for the wedding.
At the winery, my sister and I took our long-stemmed glasses and made our way through the different wine offerings. One at a time. The server dispensed a large sip of wine into our glasses as she talked about the vineyard, the grapes, and the aromas and textures we might experience. The notes of chocolate or raspberries or cedar. Distilled into the red or white or rosé, still or sparkling.
We swirled the wine around the bulb of the glass, releasing the aroma. We admired the color and clarity. We breathed in the fragrance of the wine before taking a sip, concentrating on the flavors and textures. (I had no idea what I was doing.)
At a wine tasting, guests taste wine after wine. If one is good, really stand-out-in-the-crowd good, maybe a guest will remember it long enough to purchase a bottle. Or multiple bottles.
Writing wine; being wine
If my writing is wine in a wine-tasting event, then my ideas are the grapes. I pick them with great care, then crush and press them to express their very life juices.
[I can’t help but think of the I Love Lucy show in which Lucy goes to wine country and helps stomp on the grapes. She enters a vat of grapes tentatively but becomes increasingly comfortable (and silly) as she stomps and leaps and dances on the grapes. (You can view that clip here.) It hurts to think of Lucy doing that to my ideas, of course.]
I allow the ideas to ferment and age as I shape them into a story – my wine. When it is ready, I package it with a title and image to best showcase and protect it, and I share it so all may enjoy.
Winemakers make wine. That’s what they do. Likewise, writers write.
If you’re a writer, you battle to stand out as one in a million (or a bazillion) – in a positive way. You want your “wine” to be memorable, sought, and purchased.
But even if you’re not a writer (because your mother wisely didn’t let you grow up to become one), you too may feel your talent is much like a wine at a wine tasting.
Dear Reader, what is your gifting? What are your grapes? Your wine? Are you worshipping God by using your talents for Him?
When I was young, I learned the lyrics to what turns out to be an Amy Grant song titled “Grape Grape Joy.” (I didn’t know Amy sang it until I searched for the lyrics online.) I often sang it as a teacher to my students as they entered the classroom, belting out,
“Are you a small and lonely grape /
Clutching to the vine /
Waiting for the day when you become your Savior’s wine?”“Grape Grape Joy,” Amy Grant
My Savior’s wine. My writing as wine. If I so love my ideas and words that I want to transform them into precious wine for others to enjoy, Jesus must cherish what He created, too. Me and you. He also crushes and presses us to bring out our best, allows us to ferment and age with grace, transforming us so that we might be His wine, a sweet aroma to the world around us.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”2 Corinthians 2:15-16, NIV
I want to be my Savior’s wine. I want to be the pleasing aroma of Christ bringing life to others. Will you join me?
P.S. I do realize that it’s an honor to be a wine included in the tasting event. And I thank you for sipping. J
P.P.S. Do check out Amy’s song. It’s fun and laden with truth.