Tuesday, September 27, 2011

36 Leaves

Steve had gone camping for a couple of days --- being quiet in the woods with nothing but a campfire and a Bible feeds that man. I'm so thankful.
Pete was at school and then scheduled to work till almost midnight.
Mike is doing life in VA Beach and growing his mind and abilities in good, good ways.
It was Friday, and Maggie only had classes until noonish. So we planned a girls day in Dahlonega.

After riding with Maggie to college that morning, she headed to her classes and i perched at the nearby Starbucks with my "God books"; nested in for a few hours.

Then ---- i went outside and found a bench to lay on while i waited for Maggie's classes to end.

Laying there with books converted into a pillow, His music in my earphones, my line of sight was set on "things above" both figuratively and literally.
In a safe place, i could disengage from paying attention to what was going on around me and engage in what was going on above me --- i then began to "see" and "hear" and "know" what would have been missed if i had kept my eyes on the horizontal.

It was a perfect day - blue skies, white puffy clouds (i know they are called cumulus nimbus - but doesn't "white puffy clouds" sound much better.) :) The breeze was crisp and the air felt comforting as it whirled in and out of leaves and me.
The oak tree in front of me was small; a mere baby in "oak years". Beside it stood a grandfather oak, huge and powerful to look at especially from my vantage point. Their leaves seemed to giggle as they danced in the breeze ----- and then the first leaf fell.

Four things in nature qualify as my favorites --- rarely do i have a favorite anything - there are too many wonderful things to choose from. But in nature, i can say these four things make my stomach jump and warm my heart.
1- geese flying overhead singing as they pass (i know it's a "honk" but to me it's music)
2- birds bathing in a puddle of water with wings fluttering and their whole tiny body thrilled at the goodness of the moment
3- crisp blue skies with white puffy clouds moving in the high up breezes
4- watching a leaf fall from it's home to it's destiny, watching it every inch of the way (it's waited its whole existence for this moment - to finally fly)

On Friday, two of my favorites were the gift from my Father --- it caught my breath and lumped in my throat. Only Abba can make a blue sky and glide a cumulus nimbus across it. Only Yahweh can create a leaf and then dance with it as it falls to His ground.

And then His voice came ----
watch the leaves fall donna --- count them --- their falling matters --- to them, and to Me. Watch each leaf, it will fall differently. Some dance as they fall, some twirl, and some fall straight down with a hardness in their falling, beauty lost. And notice donna --- none of them fall to the same place. I'll scatter them all over this well groomed lawn. Some will land close by their mother tree, and some will fly on the wind of my choosing and be carried far away. Some will fall today, some will fall tomorrow, some will cling to their limb and refuse to break free - those are the ones who will be forced to endure winter's cold wind and icy, dark nights hanging in mid air with no cover or protection. For those that "let go" and fall to the place of my design for them, they can rest in their new place and see "life" around them from a whole new perspective. Seeing life from the safety of a high up limb is very different than seeing life from the ground, looking up, where the bugs crawl and people walk.
oh and it continued ---- this whispering voice in my heart ---- was it "my" thinking or my Lord's lessons to me ---- i knew it was right and true and so i let the teaching settle in...

People are much like leaves donna --- much can be learned in the simplicity of watching ME move a leaf.
Here's what i learned/was reminded of/was affirmed of --- last Friday as i watched 36 leaves let go and fly:
1- It's God's design for the leaves to fly from their mothering limb when He sends His breezes over them --- just as it is God's design for His children to "move" and respond when He sends His calling to them.
2 - Those that refuse to "let go" and "fall" when God calls them to do so --- will be stuck on the limb they have clung to --- and feel the harshness of a "winter" they were not designed to experience or endure.
3 - Enjoy fully the spring and summer days of "giggling" in the light breezes of life and be fed by the limb and branch and trunk and roots and water and air --  be strengthened ---- but do not think they are the final resting spot --- or that it will always be summer days of light breezes. For the leaf to run its race well, it must release and fly.
4 - Some leaves fall straight down, some glide on the wind --- no one leaf is better for having traveled farther or for having landed in a "special" place. Each leaf is suppose to go to the place appointed to it --- no leaf laments over where it lands. People should do the same; no comparisons should be made between who is where and who is doing what. Some will serve here, some will serve far from here --- that each serve according to God's design is the only thing that matters. One is NOT better than the other --- all are valuable to the Kingdom.
5 - Some leaves fall straight down with a thud and some leaves dance and twirl as they fall. Both are falling, both will hit the ground below, both will become crisp and dry and fade back into the earth beneath them. But --- the twirling leaf sends a certain thrill to those watching it fall --- it seems to dance with joy --- even in the fall. Which sort of falling leaf am i? Which are you? May we dance for our Father as we let loose and fly in His breeze.

6 - One of the 36 leaves fell and was carried by the breeze to a place far away from the others. Many leaves fell and seemed to accumulate in a corner of the lawn by a bush. There were many leaves there together; while the one remained a long distance away, alone. Silly i suppose, but my heart tugged for the single leaf carried far away. It could not enjoy the company of other leaves like itself. But then i noticed, the sun was shining so brightly where the single leaf lay and the breeze moved it gently on the ground --- it seemed to dance there all alone in the sun. With the Son - we are never alone.
7 - One leaf let loose from the limb but was caught in a mass of other leaves on its way down. The breeze seemed to blow hard on it and it wiggled fiercely, but it was so entangled in the other clinging leaves, it was caught and could not fly. Many other leaves fell and bounced off the mass of leaves, but the one was hopelessly caught. People can be that way, we can hope to, try to, want to "fly" on the breeze sent to us by our Lord --- but then find that something or someone is clinging to us so tightly we are held fast by their demands, their needs, their limitations. A clump of disobedient leaves feel better about themselves if they can add more leaves to their mass. Misery loves company. People can be the same; disobedience and selfishness feel better when surrounded by those who are wearing selfishness as well. A painful reality - but unavoidably true.
8 - The leaves that clung to the tree and would not fall were unpleasant to look at --- they were dry and crisp and formed an ugly patch of brown in the midst of all the colorful leaves around them. They were not where the Creator had designed for them to be ---- and it made the whole of the tree much less lovely to the eye.
9 - Some leaves fell all alone, most of them did. They let go and journeyed for the first time in their "lives" and they did so all alone. Some fell with two or three others but when they landed, the breezes usually carried them in different directions. God calls us out --- to be with Him ---- alone. He will allow us companionship to enjoy and encourage or even to teach and help guide us. But ultimately God wants to know --- will you fly solo with me? The leaves give us a glimpse at the solitary life our Lord calls each one of us to.

10 - The leaves that fell from the smaller, younger tree did not have nearly as far to fall; their trip was short and sweet. But the leaves that fell from the grandfather oak had a long distance to fall. They had grown on the wise limbs of wisdom off the mature trunk of truth. They had been prepared for the longer flight.
11. Some leaves will be picked up and noticed, admired for their beautiful color or perfect shape. Others will be piled high by rough rakes and burned --- never noticed or appreciated. Some leaves will enjoy the feel of children rolling about in them and throwing them on the heads of their friends. Is it because one leaf is actually more special than the others --- that it is "noticed" or played with? Are the piled and burned leaves any less special? Can one leaf "do" something to earn the right to be admired and played with by children? Isn't it true with people as well?
So often people try and "perform" a certain way or manipulate their positioning to be singled out and/or admired. God is the ONE who should author such things --- for then it is right and pure and honorable. People should think no more highly or lowly of someone based on their "position". We should respect the God who orchestrates and love one another equally. We are little more than leaves in these matters.
12 - Not one leaf grumbled or complained --- but i almost felt like i could hear them giggling and squealing with joy. Wouldn't it be sweet if the same were true for people? Makes me want to be more like a leaf.

13 - Since Autumn is just beginning in GA, these leaves are falling before their color comes --- they have become too brittle for lack of water and they have dried up on the limb before their time. People need to be "watered" too --- but with the Living Water. They are still people whether they are "watered" or not ---- just like the leaves are still leaves whether they dry up and fall early or not. But leaves have no control over the rainfall ---- dried up, crusty people do have a choice. It always shows up sooner or later ---- if a leaf doesn't get enough water. It always shows up sooner or later ---- if a person doesn't take in enough of God's Word.
14. As i watched the leaves falling --- the sky above them seemed so vast and powerful. The high breezes were carrying the clouds quickly across the blue and covering the sun from time to time. It was a visual of the greatness of God --- doing the mighty works of God --- as the tiny leaves did the one thing they had been appointed to do ---- to let loose and fly. Did the mighty skies even notice when one leaf fell? No would be the certain answer. But our great God, majestic and holy, certainly knows when we do.

It might seem woefully odd that so much can come from the simple act of leaves falling --- hopefully you've been tracking with me though.
Because --- when we listen for His still small voice ---- He will speak --- even through 36 falling leaves.

"The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets."   -Psalm 50:1

"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."  -John 12:25(The Message)

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