Autumn winds Shake the trees To make them bare To make them free Breath of God Breathe on me Make me bare Make me free
There is a transition toward the end of the autumn season where the wind blows a little stronger to shake the remaining leaves from the trees. Usually this happens in November. I don’t blame the trees for wanting to hold onto as many leaves as possible, after all, the leaves are quite beautiful and without them the trees appear as an awkward assortment of twigs and branches.
While it seems pretty cruel to see these forms left barren before an unforgiving winter, this shedding of dying leaves is what will lead to the budding and blossoming of new leaves in Spring.
Life has seasons, and much like these autumn trees there are just some things that I find harder to let go. It’s this kind of struggle that fuels some of the most profound pieces of art and literature mainly because it’s our struggle. We can identify with the characters who are stripped of what they thought was their life, moved to endure incredible trials, then restored with a greater peace and a deeper perspective of life. This doesn’t mean they always learn the purpose of their suffering.
One great example of this is the story of Job. Job lost everything (though not his nagging wife), but the whole time he was suffering there wasn’t a clear understanding as to why it was happening. Job was a righteous man, did all the right things, why did he have to suffer? Why does anyone have to suffer? This is the question that has eluded the greatest minds in human history, and even though Job came out of his suffering with much more than he had before, he never received an answer to the question.
We will all suffer at some point in our lives, and we will all wonder why. That’s a human thing to do. If we could learn a lesson about suffering from these autumn trees, I believe it would be this: There will always be winter seasons. This is a fact we cannot avoid, but what will become of us once it’s past requires our willingness to allow the breath of God to shake what’s left of our old, dying selves. We must not rest our hope in the fading glory of beautiful things, but in the glory of the one who makes things beautiful. Our barren forms will be clothed one day with new life that is kissed by the vernal dew; vibrant and full.
Life has seasons. Sometimes the transitions knock us off balance. Whatever season you’re currently in, take courage. You’re not alone.