Preface: Let me begin by thanking anyone who had the courage to read my post last week. It was heavy and uncomfortable, and being vulnerable like that literally made me sick. This week’s post will be different from the last.
She stared out of her office window to the courtyard ahead of her. Before her was a mostly bare tree with what seemed to be only a few handfuls of leaves remaining. She was drawn to the yellow, orange, and red colors that became of a once green leaf. Gazing in amazement, she watched as the tree did a little dance where it rapidly shook its branches with the whirring of the gentle winds. The branches seemed to wave in a carefree motion, moving up and down, side to side. Her trance-like stare was interrupted as one single leaf detached and fell to the ground.
She closed her eyes and dreadfully thought to herself, ” I am that tree.”
Her season changed three months prior, some time around midnight when she transitioned into her 30th year. Without her consent, everything about and around her began changing. She found a boldness in who she was and what she said…she found her power. She no longer feared fear or its paralyzing grip on her life. “I said what I said,” became her mantra, and taking chances became her new modus operandi. “What do I have to lose?” was the question she often asked herself. So like that tree outside her office window in the courtyard, she danced in the wind. She allowed her life to go with the flow.
Wind whipped around her branches; it was calm and refreshing. This wind was much like the peace that she had received months prior. She allowed herself to get lost in the motions as she was led by the wind. Some moments boisterous while in others she only heard the faint whisper through her leaves; she enjoyed the soundtrack that she danced to. Again, as she allowed her branches to sway in a carefree manner, she asked herself, “What do I have to lose?” She didn’t notice that with every twirl she was losing her leaves, and soon the same wind that prompted her into this Waltz scattered many of her leaves away.
Like this tree she had lost many of the things that were once closely attached, and unbeknownst to her, they had scattered beneath her. And as she danced, she could feel yet another leaf at the cusp of dropping away. She wondered if the other tree, the one outside her office window in the courtyard, had feelings. Did it feel conflicted as it was consumed in the greatest dance of its life while simultaneously losing what belonged to it? Did the song of the wind overshadow the loss of the fullness of its limbs? Did that tree feel empty?
She felt conflicted. She was having the time of her life dancing to the song of her new season, but this freedom meant that she’d have less than what she started with. It was natural result of seasonal shift, she knew, but here she was one motion away from losing another leaf.
She should stop dancing in order to save this leaf?
By the way, she is me.
Chapter 30 has brought so many changes to my life. I will go on a limb and say that I am living in the best season of my life so far. Everything isn’t perfect and I am not without struggles, but this transition and transformation has afforded me freedom and peace like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my short lifetime. Within these last few months, I too have done this dance that I speak of, where I am swept with the wind and blowing with its direction. And just like this metaphor, my “leaves” are falling off and scattering. I’ve never been one to have a large number of friends and personal relationships; I am too introverted, selective, and protective of myself for that. In this case, I guess my “leaves” aren’t measured by quantity but how much space in my life they consumed. An examination of my branches revealed that as I’ve danced with the whirring wind, my branches have become bare. There is so much space in my life, and a few leaves (relationships) seem to be clinging for dear life to its space on my branches. Here is my dilemma: if keep dancing and going with the flow of this season, I’ll lose these relationships…
Should I purposely resist the changes of this season in order to maintain my normalcy?
For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away
Ecclesiastes 3: 1; 5-6 [New English Translation]
(I’ve used this scripture before. Forgive me for being redundant.)
Some things are less about effort and more about timing. As much as I enjoyed summertime, when it was time for the season to change to autumn, there was nothing I could do to stop it. Similarly, as it relates to the things manifesting or dismantling in my life, when it is time, it is time. When something is seemingly destined to happen, there is very little I can do to stop it. Jumping through hoops, bending over backwards, making concessions, denying myself, looking the other way, talking about it everyday, hugging it out, or going through the motions may not slow or stop what is supposed to happen. As hard as it may be for me to accept this as it relates to my “leaves,” I understand…It just may be time.
“A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.” That line resonates. The sheer fact that I have considered rejecting the natural motions of this season is an indication that I can’t decipher what time it is, or maybe I know what time it is, and I don’t want to acknowledge it. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that if I don’t acknowledge, it won’t exist. *insert eye roll*
For kicks and giggles, I typed, “Why do leaves fall off trees in the fall?” into my Google search bar. The explanation of the process rocked me to my core.
Leaves have to be separated from the tree in the fall so that the tree can survive the winter. In the spring and summer, those leaves convert sunlight (photosynthesis) to provide energy or “food” to the tree that helps it grow, thrive, and reproduce. Unfortunately, this process causes the leaves to absorb a lot of the water from the tree. Once the days become shorter and cooler, the tree changes its rate of reproduction, and doesn’t need those leaves to survive. As a matter of fact, a chemical is released telling the tree to let the leaves go. Look at that! The tree isn’t passively losing its leaves; something within it shifted, and that shift is forcing the tree release the leaves. But why? I’m glad you asked. Again, the leaves have to be separated from the tree in the fall so that the tree can survive the winter. Remember me telling you that the leaves absorb water from tree? In the winter months, the cold temperatures cause the leaves to freeze inhibiting them from fulfilling their purpose for the tree: photosynthesis or converting light to energy to make food. In addition, in the event of snow, those leaves will hold the extra weight of the snow causing the threat of limb breakage for the tree. The tree would basically be left with dead, useless, potentially harmful weight. Let’s add to this equation that most of those leaves need to be detached as they are damaged from the summer months. Once the tree completes its process of releasing the leaves, it enters a state of dormancy, preserving its energy as it prepares for spring when it will receive new leaves.
What may have supported or sustained you in a previous season has the potential to harm you in this season. When your season shifts, something within you (I’m going to say the Holy Spirit), is going to lead you to let some things or people go. There may be some trepidation in following this instruction; you aren’t alone. I can tell you first hand that I have beat around the bush and drug my feet to avoid letting go of some “leaves” that need to be detached. I’ve even avoided praying about this particular situation because I know what God is going to tell me to do. In the end, holding on to what isn’t meant for this season not only threatens the season that is coming (a season of rest), but it inhibits me from preparing for the season that follows (a season of reproduction).
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to give something up as lost; a time to keep,
This was specifically for me today.
I hope this helps.