Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Companying and Abundant Fruit

Apple saplings Common Ground Garden 2012
As we companion family and friends and hear their troubled times, it sometimes occurs to us that silent presence is the only word of choice. While we are listening we remember times we walked similar paths and didn’t want anyone to take our pain away until we were ready.

 The commentary by Patricia Sánchez for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 13, 2015) provided a clear image for wounding events and the results they can produce.

I am reminded of a sermon once given by the Rev. Henry Emerson Fosdick at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He related the experience of a friend who visited an apple orchard in Maine. There, he saw apple trees so laden with fruit that their branches had to be propped up to keep them off the ground. When asked about it, the orchard owner told his visitor to look at the trunks of the trees near the bottom. When he did, he saw that the trees had been wounded with a deep gash. “That is something we have learned about apple trees,” said the owner. “When the tree tends to run to wood and leaves and not to fruit, we wound it, gash it, and, almost always, no one knows why, this is the result: It turns its energies to fruit.”

It makes one wonder if silent companioning may be the gradual anointing that allows wounds to transform into the fruit of renewed energy. The gentleness of tender energy can become the nourishing fruit that bonds us to one another as we walk together day by day.

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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