These beautiful flowers are called vinca. They delight their owner with their snowy white and Barbie pink petals. But if you look closer, you will spot the real source of amazement; they grow out of a crack in the driveway every year. These delicate beauties fight the resistance of heavy concrete and darkness, pushing through the tiny strip of dirt to emerge and display their glory. Vinca are survivor-fighters.
The genus name “vinca” means to bind or fetter in Latin. (A fetter is a shackle or leather strip that ties around the ankles or feet to hold them down.) Their name is due to their long, flexible stems, which can be bound together for things such as garland and wreaths.
The picture was shared on a Christian Breast Cancer Support FaceBook page with the caption, “Vinca growing in the cracks in my driveway. They are SURVIVORS like my breast cancer sisters.”
These women, like these flowers, have persevered against the heaviness of their diagnosis and turned their faces toward a God who heals, delivers, and grows them into the scarred beauties that they are.
I also think that part of their beauty is in the root of both the flower and root of the word. The root of the flower is bound to a creeping vine that pushes through obstacles to bloom. The root of the word “vinca” evokes an image of things that are tied together for strength in order to survive. These flowers, and these women, are bound and fettered to one another. They are bound and fettered to God. They have bound and fettered themselves to hope.
The vinca knows that its strength and beauty comes from the vine that runs under the pavement. What is the source of your strength and beauty?
John 15 The Message (MSG)
The Vine and the Branches
15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.
We are fettered to the Father. He is the farmer who tends the vine and strengthens the branches to produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. When we lose those things, it is an indication that we have somehow separated from the vine-father. That’s when it is time to bind ourselves to him though his word. Abiding in him and making our home with him is the best way to combat the darkness, the concrete, and the diseases.
One last note of interest to the cancer survivor-fighters: vinca alkaloids are also important for being cancer fighters. There are four major vinca alkaloids in clinical use: Vinblastine (VBL), vinorelbine (VRL), vincristine (VCR) and vindesine (VDS). (International Journal of Preventive Medicine)
So these little beauties that represent you so well may have also cured you. When you abide in Christ, all things are possible. So bloom away! And tell of his good deeds wherever you are planted.
Photo by Jan Wilson
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.