As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
-John 15:9, NRSV
“Abide” has a lovely antique flavor to it, like lace you find at a vintage store. I’ve always heard echoes of the Southern “bide awhile” in it…sitting on a porch with an iced drink, out of the sun but still bathed in summer.
I got further hooked on “abide” after a preacher-friend and former landscaper mentioned that the Greek word means “grafted.” He went on to point out how grafting is this fascinating bit of biology where cells from the rootstock and cells from the new branch become intermingled. Plus a healed graft tends to be stronger than a natural branching. Magical stuff for someone who moved from gardens into soul-tending. Or for poets who love to layer words.
Abide: neither one thing nor another but something new that is still both things at once.
Abide: also rest, dwell, await, endure, tolerate. All things that I might be doing these days- but instead I’m flapping my wings against the cage of my brain: what now? what now? what now?
I’ll see if I can lean back against the webbing in the chair on the porch, noting its shift and stretching groan. I’ll wait for the tiny breath of breeze, take a swallow of cold tea, watch God’s world heat itself in the sunshine. See if I can tolerate it, in the Southern phrase; see if I can bide awhile in Jesus’ love.
Maybe by waiting I’ll find something new? Or maybe dwelling here is all the gift I need.