A friend called today to thank me for an article I wrote in 2005. She found it tucked inside her father’s Bible after she and her sister placed him in a memory care unit. She encouraged me to reprint it—so here it is—with love for you, and especially for dear Margret.
FALLING LEAVES ARE PICTURES OF NEW LIFE
Once again the yard is slowly being quilted in a patchwork of yellow and red as the trees shed their leaves in obedience to autumn’s call. The John Deere will soon morph into a leaf eater and the drone of leaf blowers will again become familiar background noise.
The change of seasons has arrived and the tulip poplar just beyond my window is thinning. As each leaf floats to the ground, I am witness to a living lesson that brings alive the words of the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”! II Corinthians 5:17.
Years ago in a laundry room in Lubbock, Texas, my friend Judy Reed asked me, “Penny, if you died today would you go to heaven?” After some hemming and hawing, I admitted I was not sure. Then, through the gift of faith in a simple yet profound prayer, I was a made a “new creation in Christ” with my name indelibly written in God’s Book of Life. Judy was so happy she cried and, because she was crying, I cried too. But, aside from having about a zillion questions pop into my head that soon had her calling her husband for back up, nothing outwardly changed. No Touched By An Angel glowing lights appeared nor did the earth move under my feet. However, on the inside, changes were beginning to take place that continue to this day.
Leaves fall from their branches as veins that carry fluids in and out of them gradually close off. As the veins become clogged, a barrier is formed between the old leaf and the branch. The old leaf falls away and leaves behind a protected area where new growth develops.
Through the miraculous process of new life in Christ things I once held so tightly, things which seemed impossible to let go, slowly began to lose their grip on me and fall away. What is most amazing is I, like the trees who lose their leaves, have nothing to do with the process. It happens because of what Christ the Creator did when He gave His life for me. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.
The days grow shorter, sunlight diminishes, temperatures drop, leaves change color and then fall to the ground. The unforgiveable is at last forgiven, envy gives way to contentment and old habits lose their power. Little by little I am changed and my old life gives way to the new. In each falling leaf I see victory and rejoice in the miracle of new life whose fruit will soon be seen in the budding leaves of spring.