The giant oak tree outside my office window abundantly flourished with leaves of green. It was strong, vibrant and full of life. And then came winter; a season of glazing frost and the hibernation of nature. It’s a time of waiting. Yes, as nature sleeps we wait for spring.
In early spring as the last thaw of winter came to an end, I waited for the appearance of green growth on the oak tree. Sprouts began to appear and over time the massive tree was covered in a garment of lush green leaves. It had survived the harsh, cold winter elements.
Then unexpectedly, the leaves began to curl. They showed signs of stress as if something was sucking the life out them. How could that be? Just last week they flourished and appeared vigorous and healthy. Over the next week leaves withered and wilted to a dying brown color. Only a few green leaves were hanging on a single branch.
Have you ever felt like you are just hanging on?
One minute life is flourishing, full of abundant joy. Yes, we say, “life is good” and then, without notice, unforeseen circumstances deplete the ebb like a dying tree.
Like the oak tree outside my window our green leaves begin to wilt. In desperation we try to hang on but stand helpless and powerless as promising hopes and dreams succumb to decay.
My oak tree continues to die daily. A few green leaves fiercely hang on as a reminder there is always hope as they silently scream to each other, “Don’t give up!”
In the end
We are all left with a few remaining green leaves that will inevitably fade away and as they do, they will speak in a barely audible whisper…
I’ve conquered the biting cold and whistles of winter winds as my bare branches were clinging for life.
I’ve heard shadows hold their breath when my once green leaves whispered to the evening breeze.
I’ve stood awestruck by a shooting star against the backdrop of the black skies of a summer night.
I’ve felt the softness of raindrops, the fervor of thunderstorms and have seen the rainbows that follow.
I’ve been a seedling that slowly grew tall so I could embrace heaven with branches that brought shade.
I’ve nestled others in my arms and noted the beauty that comes in nurturing those in need.
I’ve seen perplexing details of life gravitate to long branches that guide to an unseen spiritual realm.
I’ve realized when stripped down to the nothing, I’m nothing more than a fragile creature that will turn to dust.
I’ve learned death can come at any given moment; I smiled at death and said, “Life was good! Take me home.”
Heavenly Father, in this moment there are many just hanging on and want to give up because life circumstances have left them feeling fragile and fruitless. The green leaves of hope are wilting but they cling to you. Whatever the outcome, they cling to you because you hold the reins of life and death for all creation.
Sprinkle seeds of peace in the soil of their soul and water them with liquid prayers as they pass through this season of grief. Lord, when words can’t say it, just listen through the heart.