As the leaves begin to pale and clutter the ground, I am reminded of my childhood days of fall. In the Tennessee hills, there were plenty of leaves around by October. No matter how much Dad would rake, gathering leaves into piles, the yard was never cleared. Plus, my friends and I raced and jumped into those mounds of color as he grumbled his way through the chore.
Once the trees were bare, we all knew the holidays were just around the corner. Mom would start planning early, as I do today. I noticed she spent more time at her sewing machine and studying recipes. There was a sense of anticipation when the cool air became cold, and kids everywhere prayed for the first “big Tennessee snowstorm.”
Now, as I watch a leaf fall to the ground, I realize it is the simple pleasures we once enjoyed that captured our hearts. Those life’s little joyous moments fill our minds with a longing, a desire to return to a time when it seemed safe, carefree, and filled with wonder.
This fall, perhaps it is good for us to just be still and watch with fascination as a leaf falls to the ground. We are living in challenging times filled with uncertainty and angst. 200,000 people will not be joining us this fall. There will be empty seats around tables at Thanksgiving and no Christmas gifts for many who have lost their businesses, jobs, or homes.
This fall, I find sadness in every corner and anger rising to a new level. We are consumed with politics. We cannot make a cup of coffee without it becoming political. And, we can ostracize a friend if they disagree with our view on issues. There is not another time in my life that I have witnessed such a prevailing spirit.
As a people, we are dealing with so many complicated, controversial problems at one time; it is overwhelming. They can overtake our spirit, cloud our perspective, and diminish our faith. We may ask, “ Where in the world did God go?”
Have we lost our way?
The truth is God has not gone anywhere, but perhaps we have. Have we lost our way with our sorrow, our hopelessness, our anger, and let the state of America today cloud our lives? Has our spirit fallen like the faded leaf that wearily falls to the ground?
I would say the answer is, “Yes, we have.” The only true healer of our spirit is our spirit. Our relationship with the Almighty is what will motivate us to mentally recover. Perhaps, God is reminding us that He alone is in charge and is watching how we handle diversity and a complex, contentious fall.
Folks worry and fret, but forget the word of the gospel, “Do not fear, I am with you.” Our brothers and sisters spew hate and spread evil like wildfire, but forget the gospel’s greatest commandment: “Love one another as I love you.”
God has not gone anywhere. Perhaps he is watching us as we turn away from Him. We will not recover if we do not turn around. Faith is the most essential medicine we have. It is not found just in words, or our sermons, but in our individual actions.
Return to joyous days
Today, as my own spirit wanes, I recall those days when Daddy raked the yard, and Mama sewed my Halloween costume. I believe we can return to those joyous times, but only if we turn toward God so that our deeds will be filled with godliness. Empathy, kindness, love, goodness, and faith are the medicines we must take prescribed by our greatest Healer.
We must never forget that we cannot outsmart God. We are not that intelligent; we are not that righteous. We are merely just mortal humans. God is not the President, not a Congressman or a Superior Court judge, but He alone is the supreme being who will decide our fate.
Yes, God is still in the yard, but just blurred under the leaves a bit. He is still the one who will be thanked at Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas is His celebration. Let’s honor him with our actions, and maybe, just maybe, we heal our hearts and our country when we do.
Take a moment and notice a leaf cascading to the ground. Because the wonder of life is found in such simplicity.