Leaf Lessons

Climbing a mountain in real life can be twice as dense when your heart’s climbing one, too. Physical surroundings take on a new meaning, new application. Like your feet are all too familiar with the strain and anticipation of finding the top. Finding a break in the trees.

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Three 20-somethings drove from middle Tennessee to small-town Pennsylvania. (Five minutes above the Mason-Dixon, to be exact.) We followed rainstorms the entire way there. They decided to stick around.

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It was beautiful. Quiet. Leaves were changing colors, fighting the crisp October breeze to hang on to the branches. Fighting to hang on to their place of comfort for one more day. Then I heard a gentle yet unmistakable voice of somebody trying to reach the depths of a soul, trying to break through the static of expectation and comparison and opinion to speak through the murky confusion. So I watched and waited.

“Follow me, daughter…. I’m here.”

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“But I can’t see what’s in front of me. Where are you taking me? What if I can’t see where to place my feet? How do I know it’s really you?”

“Follow.”

It shook me to my core. I looked to my right in time to see a golden leaf lose its battle against the wind. It broke free and was swept into the foggy afternoon, never once looking back to the tree branch it left behind. Never wondering what’s waiting just past the curtains of a misty autumn day. Trusting the wind to carry it safely until it would find its place gently on the ground somewhere new.

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As I stood on the Pennsylvania soil in a whirlwind of soft whispers, one voice succeeded in becoming clearer than the rest. Timely words from a friend seemingly too far away, yet close enough. Finding my trembling heart and wrapping it up in an embrace built from reminders.

“You know in your heart and soul that not one word has failed out of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All of them have come to pass for you; not one has failed.”

Not one has failed. The leaf had no trouble understanding that.

So I breathed deep and took a step. A step taken by a hesitant right foot that would echo one taken by a weak spirit in complete and total faith. Here goes nothing.

And in a moment of grace, I happened to glance behind me one more time to see that the fog had lifted.

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