Sunday, November 04, 2007

Falling Leaves

After church last week, I headed for the nearby trail, hoping to get at least one more walk in before the leaves are all gone. A question lingered in my mind after the message at church: "How bad do you want it? How deep is your desire to grow?" A few thoughts came to mind as I walked along, picking up leaves that appealed to me.

Abandon. That's how the leaves fall. They just let go. Am I willing to let go? and what do I need to let go of?

Face down. See that oak leaf on top there? It's face down. All the oak leaves for some reason seemed to land in this face down position. Am I willing to be face down before God? Hmm. I've had a CD called Facedown on my list for some time now; perhaps it's time to go ahead and spring for it (absolutely no pun intended!)

I've always been fascinated by the whole leaf-changing thing, from the time the first blush of fall appears in the multi-colored patchwork of treed hillsides to when the last leaf relinquishes its clinging grip on the the mother tree. When I was a kid, I took great pleasure in decorating our front window for fall, with leaves I'd gathered from our yard. Then I went through the whole pressing leaves stage . . . for what?

I started to do so with the pile in the picture above and then I realized, no . . . there will be more leaves next year. I let them decorate my buffet for the last week, in their natural brilliant state. Now they look rather different, kind of curled up and colors fading. I'll probably toss them in the next day or so.

I'm reminded when I look at these leaves that change is a process. It's not overnight. We may get a hint of it first, if we're paying attention to the stirrings of our heart. We may experience a feeling of discontent or struggle, all before we realize God is doing something in our lives. And then, like the fall foilage at its peak, we begin to embrace the changes, secure in the knowledge that God is at work. And then we move into acceptance, and we are changed. I'm oh so glad I don't wake up one September morning and find the leaves changed overnight. And I'm just as thankful that God's work in our lives is a gentle process.