As fall unfolds in New England, Claire McGarry sees all we can learn from the trees in the process.
I live in New England where the foliage is spectacular each fall. It's as if God lights up the trees in a blaze of colorful glory, like the finale at a fireworks show. Then the leaves fade and fall away.
There always seem to be those stubborn leaves, though, that hang on with all their might, not wanting the season to end, not wanting to let go of the heights they've lived, only to drop to the ground and be raked away.
So, the high winds come, trying to dislodge them, convince them that it's time to let go and let nature take its course. It has to happen. All good things must come to an end in order for new beginnings to start. If the leaves don't concede, the consequences can be dire.
I've lived through a few early snowstorms that blanketed the trees before the leaves had a chance to fall. Despite the beauty of the glistening flakes, when they clung to the leaves in clumps, they were just too heavy. Trees weren't meant to hold up under all that weight. Consequently, limbs broke and entire trees came crashing down, taking power lines with them, disrupting households and lives.
Our bad habits, or good habits that no longer serve us, do the same thing. God sends us signals that it's time to let them go. When we hold on too tight, life itself sends the high winds to dislodge them, trying to convince us to loosen our grasp.
When that doesn't work, something untimely happens, the precipitation of some unwanted event showers down on us, increasing the weight.
Instead of digging our heals in and doubling our efforts and strength to hold on, we may want to take a page from the trees in New England, asking ourselves: What do I need to shed to get ready for the next chapter of my life?
Not only does the changing of the seasons make this a perfect time for that question, but the coming of the Christ Child and new year do too. And rather than looking at the shedding process as painful and unwanted, if we focus on the positive of making room, we'll feel the anticipation of the beauty to come.
About the Author
Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.