As I drove through the countryside today, I couldn’t help but notice the last leaves of November descending upon the bonnet of my car. In my rearview mirror, a cloud of golden joy danced in the air as I left behind a tree’s last goodbye, at least until spring.
I’ve discovered something about nature that I don’t really see others take notice of. Nature is itself an open book of wisdom left to us by God. Through the movement of the world, seasonal changes, there is a lesson the Lord leaves each one of us.
Each tree I saw today reminded me how us humans if we are ever to experience the new spring of eternal grace in Heaven, must be ready to let go. We must be prepared to change colour and shed the old self. All our pride, egoism, self-love, ignorance, selfishness, pride, lust, sloth, anger and greed etc. needs to go.
Letting go of the old world that nests comfortable within each of us isn’t natural. In doing so, we enter a new world where happiness has its moments… But Persecution on account of the Word, and our change of heart will be commonplace. Like the trees who shed their leaves, entering a dark winter, we too must be willing to endure the same.
The winter of life can often seem dark, and there’s no light. Yet, even with this in mind, the trees never wither. They all live in hope. Why? Spring is coming, and their leaves will once again display themselves for the enjoyment of the world. With this hope in mind, their leaves may not be showing through winter, but their roots most certainly grow stronger.
When I saw my wife battling cancer, all I saw was a person suffering. There she lay on the hospital bed suffering her “winter”. There was, however, one thing I’d overlooked. Her roots were growing stronger in Christ, and her faith was an impenetrable fortress. I knew that whether or not she’d get to live another season like every other tree, she’d come out even fresh and greener than before.
Like the trees, we are always going in and out of season. We must weather every storm, but God through nature shows us that to do so, we must be prepared and willing to let go of the old self, and embrace the pain that accompanies it. We can’t avoid suffering. It’s a part of life, and we must accept that. Approaching winter with as much joy as we can, through his grace will ground us forever in His love.
We sin, shed our old self, suffer, experience happiness, sin again and then have to repeat this constant daily effort of conversion. But we must be prepared because one day, our bodies and souls will change colour for the last time, and the leaves regained will be eternal.
There will be no more seasonal changes of the soul, and we shall ascend to the Throne of God. It is here that each soul shall receive his/her reward to the measure of their love, and how they weathered the cold winters throughout their lives.
The next time you see a magnificent tree shedding its leaves, always remember you’re looking into natures mirror. It really is an image of you that you’re observing, and through this image, God speaks to you.
May He give you the grace to open the ears of your soul and hear natures song of wisdom. May you weather this winter, and your roots travel deep and be ever active for the eternal spring to come.
God bless you, my dear reader. Have a happy grace-filled November.