I had a rare weekday afternoon off and it was a gorgeous day. After one appointment that needed to be met, I spent some of my afternoon reflecting at one of my favorite places, in front of a Starbucks; with my free rewards drink and journal by my side. I haven’t done that in a while and I could tell. Today as I sat “still” I reflected. It didn’t take too long to see the world around me and learn from God’s own work. This is what I wrote as I was attracted to the burst of color. The writing is unedited and simply flowed from my fingers and thoughts. I call it “dumping” in my journal.
How often do we change with the seasons? I am drawn to this leaf, which is connected to all these other leaves. Look over there. I see another tree, followed by others. All of their leaves are turning too. Can you see the intricate details of each leaf? Look at the vibrancy of their colors. These are beautiful. Gorgeous. Stunning. Imperfect. My camera won’t do them justice. Only God can.
Look at this leaf. So many veins that carry with them water, oxygen, and other scientific things that I can’t think of right now. Look at what is produced by this one leaf being connected to a masterpiece of creative design, branches, trunk, roots and ground. I have no idea how long this tree has been here. We can find that out by cutting the tree and counting the rings, but why would I do that. Instead, I want to look at this leaf. I know that every year, the leaves on this tree change. We learned about that in school. Seasons change and so does this leaf.
Just like many trees, this leaf probably started out green and before that, a bud. Spring buds turn to summer greens and at this point, a vibrant autumn. Even the word “autumn” brings an immediate sense of warmth and glow to my heart. And what I recognize is the fact that this leaf will fall soon. It has to because that is a part of the plan, God’s magical creation of life. This gorgeous, vibrant, magnificent leaf will fall and die.
I don’t look at death as a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful moments in life. There is nothing wrong with death. It has to happen and what is remarkable about this leaf is the fact that when it dies, when the history and past of this leaf falls to the ground, it will get absorbed into the very foundation that it came from and contribute to the life of future leaves. It’s a cycle and one that will bring with it growth.
Observing this leaf is a gift, a blessing, and a present. It has a past. Whether we like it or not, that past is a part of our present. But look at this leaf. I have no idea what its past was like and I have no idea what the future will hold, with the exception that it will die.
We all have a past and for many of us, there are moments in our past that we want to die. We want to forget about them, move on and become someone completely different. The gift that I have been given, by being invited into the life of this leaf, is the fact that its past made this leaf what it is today. Do you understand that? This leaf; this vibrant, colorful, burst of burnt orange that I see before me, has a past. That history came by falling to the earth, being crushed and rubbed into the muck and grit of the dirt and life of the underground. Then that earth got sucked into the roots and trunk of this tree, which produced the leaf I am admiring through my eyes and into my heart. A part of me wants to pick the leaf and carry it with me but what will that do? Nothing.
Wait. I don’t mean that. If I pick that leaf before its life falls into its foundation, then what I am doing to all those that have yet to come? Plus, I disconnect it from the very source of spirit, nurturing, and life.
A momentary pause to text to a friend with a glimpse of the leaf (I really wish people would talk again.): “How will we ever burst into our vibrancy if we don’t stay connected to our Center and change with our seasons? Let the past melt within the ground of our foundation without holding us back from growth.” (Did I just texted that?)
The appointment I had earlier was for counseling. That shouldn’t really surprise anyone. If that point turns you away or makes you think less of me that is your loss. I am doing some follow up work, some intentional, hard and demanding work, on a past that I very much wanted to get rid of. I wanted to pick away at that history and previous life, to crush it on my own and never give myself an opportunity to go through the seasonal change. I wanted to deny myself the chance to create the vibrancy. What I found out today is I’ve let some of the tapes from my past creep back into my spirit and make an impasse in some of the work I am doing. Instead of growing and changing with the seasons, I wanted to stop the growth process all together. My history, no matter how cold and wintry it was, makes me who I am today and those moments – the good and the bad – will find a way into the soil and root of my foundation. Then when the time is right, there will be a burst of vibrant orange, with blue sky and autumn spirit.
Seasons change and so will I. Just don’t break away before its time. Look at what I’ll miss if I do.
Ecclesiastes 3:1: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.