Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stress Piles and Leaf Piles:Autumn's Grand Recitation

The dry autumn leaves tell a story.

They fall, dancing for a moment in the air before landing all over my front lawn, the glory moment of their death.  They have their 6 seconds of fame.

Beautiful, fragrant, merry, they fall from the tree in what looks like joy itself, tumbling down to make for lots of raking.

My porch is ankle deep in maple leaves, and a few from the tulip tree, which hasn't yet pushed out as many of the doomed blades as the maples' have.  I pick up the broom, and I'm all grumbly and tired. It's after 7pm, and I have to run out to the grocery store.  I'm irritated by the mess on the porch, complaining to some double within my self that I have 2 strong boys (who would have willingly done the job if asked).  I haven't even taken my pocketbook off my shoulder as I sweep malignantly, with rottenness of heart and tension like a noose around my neck.

Around me, the leaves keep happily falling, dying gladly, as if they know that this letting go will bring new life come April.  They keep landing on my porch, calling me to join the party.

I remove my heavy purse and move the big pumpkins with leaves stuck underneath.  The sweetness of the smell in the air, the brisk breeze and the quiet of standard-time darkness begin to lure me from my tightness.  I can practically hear God in the crunch and brush of the broom..."Let it go...and live."

In just a few minutes I'm slowing down, listening to the sound of leaves being moved and those landing gently on my home.  And gradually, the sweeping becomes joy, and my exhaling releases the need to be in control...to get it all done.  I am in the moment, dying to myself, living to that greater reality.  There is so much to this world of grace that we miss in our pocketbook-laden, tight-fisted, want-it-my-way snits.  When we release ourselves to the beauty of the moment, there is a wonder that comes.  Like the leaves swaying their way to the ground, we can let that thing within us die so something alive can form there.  In this way, death to small things becomes the life of something new.

Every day, thousands of leaves in the boundaries of my yard filled with mature trees, fall to the ground and die.  Their death is so beautiful and bountiful.  The cats hide behind the leaves.  And when they're piled up, my grown children can still be found leaping about in the hills they form. Every day of fall in New York is a living epistle.  A reminder of the life that comes from surrender.

I'm so very grateful for this seasonal memorial and its' metaphor.  This very evening I am reminded of my need to be reminded.  Confronted by a truth from my husband, who has died to himself countless times for all of our sakes, I am again given the choice.  I can clench and defend myself or let go and dance to the ground, with every hope of new life to be coming around all in good time.

What do you need to release friend?  It's different for everyone.  Some things are large, some small, but they all have to go. If the old leaves hold tight, there will be no fall perfume, no dancing "fairies" on the wind, no piles for play.  And worst of all, there will be no green when the perfect time comes.

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is around the corner.  Without a doubt, gratitude for this truth of the elegance of dying to self will find it's way to our thank-you basket.  No doubt those bedraggled, brave pilgrims of the Mayflower let go of so much, and out if it came a whole new world.

We pilgrims, we need to have faith for the same.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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