Monday, November 2, 2009

Leaf Lessons

The sun was shining, the air was unusually warm for late October. David had an early morning appointment in Columbia, and we decided to spend a little time at River Walk. http://www.riveralliance.org/West%20Columbia%20Riverwalk.htm and
http://www.scgreatoutdoors.com/park-westcolumbiariverwalk.html
It's a lovely "secret" in downtown Columbia, SC, with miles of paths alongside the Congaree River. If you get the chance, come and visit!

We walked along the winding path, hand in hand. The Walk itself is neatly maintained with boardwalks and concrete paths. Occasionally we'd meet someone jogging, or walking a dog; a few people were taking advantage of the sunshine and enjoying picnic lunches.
Eventually, we stopped underneath a bridge for some CO2 time.

Not Carbon Dioxide -- CO2 stands for Church Of 2. Just the two of us, worshiping together, on a glorious afternoon by the water's edge. Underneath a canopy of red and golden leaves, we sat on a large rock and worshiped God. David read aloud Psalms 23, 24, and 25. We shared quietly with each other what we thought the Lord was telling us in these verses. Then we meditated a while on what we'd just read.

I sat there on that rock, watching water flowing downstream, joined by more water gushing through a spillway, splashing over the rocks below. Colorful autumn leaves fell like snowflakes from the trees along the riverbanks, and some fell into the water.

I watched those leaves -- red, gold, brown, and burgundy -- drifting, swirling, dancing in the water. Some landed in rushing water and whoosh! Bouncing and splashing, getting bruised in the process against obstacles, those leaves quickly got caught in the current. In moments they were far, far downstream.
Others slowly lazed along, bumping into rocks and logs, sometimes getting caught for a while before turning loose and catching the rapids. Still others seemed to cycle over and over again in the same tidepool: they'd be pulled under the water, eventually swirl to the surface, nearly break away to flow downstream only to be sucked right back underneath in the same place by the current.

It occurs to me that those leaves are like us humans. Some folks dive right into life, rushing through the rapids, taking things in stride, bouncing over the obstacles -- but making it past the rough parts quickly and easily.
Others take things slowly, more tentatively. They give thought to the process. Sometimes, they might get stuck in a tidepool, but they eventually work themselves through it and can continue on with life. Occasionally they are afraid to let go, afraid to leave the calmness of their security, content to watch others go whooshing past them.
The last group is to me the saddest ones. They get sucked into a continuous loop, never making it past immature thought patterns or bad habits, always making poor choices that land them right back into the murky stagnant area where they re-circulate the same old issues over and over and over again.

So which leaf are you? Are you hung up on some issue that seems to keep you from being able to move into the freedom of life? Are you clinging to the banks of the river, afraid to venture into the rush of the deep waters? Or are you jumping right in, immersing yourself in the joy of living -- even if it includes some rough patches?

Honestly...I think I've been all three types, at different stages of my life! But right now, I'm whooshing down the rapids, splashing and bobbing, sometimes smacking into walls but bouncing off with only minor dents to my soul, giggling with joy as I go.
Life is short -- enjoy the ride!


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