A Lesson from the Leaves

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Photo by Greg Shield on Unsplash

Call me #basic, but I really do love the season of fall.

It might have something to do with the fact that my birthday comes during fall. Or it might also be because fall begins the most hygge-licious time of year. And it miiight also be the fact that I enjoy a good pumpkin-spice-flavored treat as much as the next girl.

I will add that in Colorado, I really look forward to the way the leaves change color during fall each year. I'm from Las Vegas, Nevada, and I went to college in San Diego, California, where palm trees and "desert landscaping" are the norm. So fall foliage still really excites me. And my enthusiasm for it still decidedly pegs me as an out-of-towner, even three years into my life here. I just can't get enough of the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows that spring up all over the state once the weather starts to cool.

I was thinking about this today as I was picnicking with my sister at the YA YA Apple Orchard in Longmont. And suddenly, it struck me as very unusual that we should find so much beauty in leaves that are essentially, well... dying. That there can be something lovely in the decay of leaves no longer bursting with life-sustaining chlorophyll (for more info on the whole leaves-changing-color thing, because I'm certainly no scientist, see this helpful article).   

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples:

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it." (Mk 8: 34-35).

The leaves know when they have to die to themselves in order to becomes something else that is necessary for the beauty of God's design, for the bigger picture of the world at hand, for the cycle of life.

Do I?

The truth is, I'm still very much learning what sacrifice involves in my current state of life. What giving of myself wholly to God and to others -- putting my own wants and desires on the back burner -- looks like. And honestly, I'm not too good at it.

So today, I long to be just a little bit more like the leaves. I want to let go a little bit. To die to myself so I can live vibrantly in Christ.

And to trust that there is beauty -- and a life more colorful than I could ever imagine -- if I were to do that.