The leaf sacheted and fluttered without a sound. Yellow brilliance, twirling and spinning and falling. A thing of beauty, this solitary leaf in its descent. The twins and I take our routine walk around the block after lunch, and we pick leaves. Andrew hands me a fistful of brown.
Consider the lilies of the field. . .the birds of the air. . the falling leaves, these lessons scripted in the winds and the fields and the trees. Fall’s leaves – fiery reds, the golden yellows -they are the radiant dying. Fall in all its glory is the prelude to winter’s death.
I consider all that has been dying in the autumn days that silently chilled into my winter.
Fear. Perfectionism. Hurry. Ambition. Leaves falling soundlessly, imperceptibly, until it’s as if the Maker Himself has shaken the tree and hurled His weight against its branches. Shedding. Forfeiting. Relinquishing. Letting Go.
Eugene Peterson describes this in his book, The Jesus Way. Speaking of Abraham, Peterson writes, “Habits of relinquishment became deeply ingrained in [him]. They become deeply ingrained in us as we read. Leaving Ur and Haran, leaving Shechem and Bethel, leaving Egypt and Gerar, leaving Beersheba. Leaving, leaving, leaving. But every leaving was also a lightening of self, a further cleansing of the toxins of acquisition. A life of getting was slowly but surely replaced by a life of receiving – receiving the promises, receiving the covenants, receiving the three strangers, receiving Isaac, receiving circumcision, receiving the three strangers, receiving Isaac, receiving circumcision, receiving a lamb in the thicket – being transformed into a life that abandons self-sovereignty and embraces God-sovereignty. . .In the process of leaving behind, Abraham became more, gradually but certainly realizing that relinquishment is prerequisite to fulfillment, that letting go of a cramped self-will opened up to an expansive God-willed life. Faith.”
Relinquish. Autumn’s mandate. Wait. Winter’s Test. Receive. Spring’s promise.