This evening as I took my walk, I noticed the beauty of the fallen leaves. Although I have witnessed many Autumns, the leaves took on a different meaning, as I walked gingerly over them. As I continued my walk, I passed trees that were still pretty full, some that were half full and some that only had one or two leaves on them. I thought about the journey that some leaves took as they broke free from their branches and flew wildly through the air, landing who knows where. I also thought about the leaves that meandered down to the ground, waiting to be raked up without any adventurous spirit. I have to admit, thinking of the journey of a leaf or leaves is kind of far-fetched but that was the path my brain was taking. When I was ready to round the corner to head home, I knew exactly the story I wanted to tell. A story that would parallel the seasons leading up to the adventure. A tale that possibly might mirror our lives. A story that someone reading this just might need to hear.
We all know that each year we go through four seasons. Each, with its own beauty and perfect days. Each, with its ups and downs and undesirable storms. Each, with its celebrations, happiness, fears, and tears. Since we can’t control or change the seasons, our only option is to enjoy them. You are probably thinking, where is she going with this story? Bear with me; I promise it will all make sense.
It’s fall, and the leaves are tired. They have worked hard all summer, doing their best to bring us shade and beauty. As the temperatures start to drop, they slowly lose their chlorophyll, changing their green leaves to brilliant fall colors. Soon their adventure begins as they try to hold on but lose their strength and fall. Then as the wind picks up, those still holding on, fly like kites in the sky to places far and near.
Just like the leaves, our lives are like an adventure. Ups and downs, weaknesses and strength, trying our best, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.
During the winter, when the tree is sleeping, the future buds are waiting. They are patient and wait for just the right time. When everything comes together, they will begin again.
For everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Everyone has a goal. Everyone has a gift to share with others. When times are tough, hold on and never give up. It is always darkest before the storm.
When spring arrives, the buds awaken, soon followed by green leaves, starting small, waiting for summer to grow to their standard size. Each year they return as promised.
Just like spring when everything in nature is new, each day is a brand new, with new opportunities and chances to make good choices.
Summer is finally here! The green leaves have reached their full size and are happy. They sway in the wind, are warmed by the sun, and soak up the falling rain. The tree with it many leaves, cover the child lying under the tree reading, playing or dreaming. The green shape symbol does its best to cool those who visit; listening to the laughter and sometimes the tears, but always staying stoic for all.
Just like the green leaves, when times are tough, be brave and courageous and know that you are not alone.
Now, we are back to where we started. It’s fall, and the leaves have turned their beautiful reds, yellows, orange, and even browns. Some are still green waiting for the temperatures to get just a tad colder. In all, they bring us joy and are precisely what we need before the snow of winter. I like to think of it as walking through the largest art museum in the world, witnessing God’s best work.
Just like the beautiful leaves, each one of you possesses a beauty that is beyond words. Each one of you has talents and gifts to share with the world and those who love you. I want you to know that we all make mistakes in life but it is how we handle those mistakes that make all the difference. As you go through each day, and each season, remember the importance of accepting those who are different, asking for forgiveness and forgiving others even when you think you can’t. One more thing, love is the answer. Spread your love to all you meet, and it will come back to you. Take each day and live it to the fullest. And always remember to reach out to those in need. Your heart will thank you.