A few years back I lived just outside Florence, Italy in the egion of Italy where the famous Chianti wines are made. One day I was walking along a trail next to a vineyard when I came upon an elderly farmer standing among his grape vines. Eager to practice my Italian, I said to the man, “This is a beautiful vineyard you have.”
“Tante grazie,” he replied.
“You must have very good soil to grow such grapes that make famous wines.”
The man looked at me then said, “No, Signore. You cannot grow good grapes in good soil.”
I thought this curious and so when I got back home I looked it up on the internet. The farmer was right of course. I learned that bad soil yields higher quality grapes than good soil because, in poor soil, the vines have to work harder, branching off more roots to gather nutrients. Not only does this increase the amount of nutrients that ultimately get to the grape, but it also regulates how much water the plant gets. If a vine has too much water, the result is a fat, characterless grape.
This is a perfect metaphor for we humans as well. Trials and challenges rise before us like mountains. But mountains can raise us or bury us depending on which side of the mountain we choose to stand. Ultimately it’s a matter of choice. Some people choose to be whiners, some choose to be winners. Some choose to be victims, some choose to be victors.
We can spend our days bemoaning our hurts or we can grow from them. Ultimately the choice is ours. We can be victims of circumstance or masters of our own fate, but make no mistake, we cannot be both.
History and life teach us that more times than not we do not succeed in spite of our challenges and difficulties but, rather, precisely because of them.
Even a grape knows that.
- Richard Paul Evans