A Matter of Life & Death

A picture taken by my oldest daughter

The lovely fall leaves have reminded me that beauty can be found even in the death of things.

At winter’s end, many of us take a deep breath in as we see the beginnings of tiny green leaves unfurling on mostly bare branches. These heralds of spring promise an end to the bitter cold and the colorless emptiness that blankets the world – or at least parts of it – for just longer than we feel we can stand.

Flower buds soon join the dance of green in the breeze and all at once, we find ourselves dreaming. For some, our dreams are of spending more time outside. For others, our dreams are of vacations to be taken during the summer months. And for others, our dreams are of what those leaves and buds represent – a fresh start, a new day. A symbol that life does, indeed, go on.

Spring quickly gives way to the heat of summer, which is simultaneously glorious and miserable at the same time. The heat makes it possible to participate in fun activities such as swimming, boating, and biking, but it also often prevents us from being comfortable away from water and wind.

And then comes fall, with the cooler, delightful temps, and the leaves that turn into a dazzling array of colors.

This beauty would not exist without the death of those leaves. Those leaves that, just months before, sparked our imaginations and fueled our dreams.

And as the autumn clouds claim much of the sky, we feel melancholy. Fall is beautiful, but it’s also slow and sad. This slowness is not so much the opposite of fastness as it is just a feeling that the darkening clouds bestow upon our souls.

Again we stand at the threshold of winter, knowing that the cold and the snow (for those so blessed and so cursed) will bring a pure beauty and a quietness that will calm our souls until it maddens us again with its longevity.

These seasons in life can mean so many things to us. They mean so many things to me.

Just weeks ago a lifelong dream died for me completely, and although I had anticipated and welcomed that death for good reason, still I wept when it arrived. I mourned the death of that dream, and every so often still do, when life is quiet and loneliness springs up faster than rational thought.

It was during one of those brief moments of mourning that I felt God speak to me through the brilliantly changing leaves. There is beauty in the death of this dream like there is beauty in the death of these leaves.

For it wasn’t until that dream had fully passed that I could start to dream again.

2 thoughts on “A Matter of Life & Death”

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