Dropping Our Leaves

Driving down the road, I watch as the autumn leaves swirl and are
blown away in the wake of the car in front of me.  As I watch them, I think about how these leaves that were so recently such an important part of the life of a tree are now discarded; forgotten and unnecessary.
I wonder, “why can’t we be more like trees?” They set an example for us every year in the way they let go of the old, dried up parts of their lives. They don’t complain about it. They don’t grab on tighter trying to hang onto what is comfortable and familiar. No, they recognize that what was once a vital part of their existence is now withered and useless dead weight. Holding on would only hinder them from experiencing that greatness that lies ahead as the tree grows and blossoms in the Spring.
Trees don’t hide their leaves either; trying to make sure everyone else thinks things are good. They don’t try to ignore them and pretend that they’re not there. They don’t try to convince us that they need these leaves. When Autumn comes, the trees display their old leaves in all their splendor for everyone to see. It’s as if they are saying to us, “Look!  Look at what has been a part of my life. I want you to know about it. But also know that the time has come to let it go.  I don’t need it anymore.”

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us
free. Stand firm, then, and do not let
yourselves be burdened again by a yoke
of slavery.” Gal 5:1

Once they’ve let go of their leaves, the trees don’t pine away for the past.  They don’t long for the days when those leaves were hanging from their branches.  The leaves are gone, forgotten.  They are scattered in the wind, picked up, hauled away, and eventually burned or decayed; lost somewhere in the past. The tree moves on and focuses on what lies ahead. It prepares itself for the the hard trials of Winter and glories in the warmth of Spring. The tree is willing to bend…and grow…and change as God directs its life into the future.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in
the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the
water that sends out its roots by
the stream-Jer 17:7-8

I wonder if we can take a lesson from the tree. Can we learn to
take a good honest look at our lives periodically and recognize the stuff the old, withered stuff we don’t need to hang onto? Can we let go of the the old wounds; the things that people have done and said to us that don’t build and encourage, but rather weigh us down and hold us back? Can we let recognize the things we’ve done but know now we shouldn’t have done? Can we stop letting those things define us? Can we finally let them drop to the ground and blow away in the wind? Can we be honest with one another about our past…our present…but not keep reminding one another about those things.  Can we look ahead together to all that wonderful plans God has laid before us if only we could let go of the past?
Let’s take a lesson from the trees. Let’s let the old, dried out leaves of our lives fall away and be carried off into the distant past as we look ahead and embrace he life God lays before us.

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