By Father Bob Kraig Every year sometime in either September or early October I ask our maintenance staff what their plans are for keeping the leaves on the tree that would be falling or depending on when I joke around with them the leaves that have already fallen.
We always joke around about it. One time they told me they would color code the leaves and put them back on the tree after they have fallen. Another year they mentioned they might use super glue to keep them on. Their answers are always creative, humorous and we always seem to have a good laugh about it.
After I popped the annual question a few weeks ago I thought about the entire situation and a lot of thoughts went through my mind. As ridiculous and fun-filled as the question is (which as I said has kind of become a ritual for myself and our maintenance staff) I thought I’d share some of my reflections from it.
Wouldn’t it be nice to keep the leaves on the tree – especially with the various colors. They would certainly remind us of the magnificent gift of God’s creation; they could also serve to help realize the many gifts of God in our lives. And they could also provide shade for the infrequent days of sun we have in the winter. They could also paint some beautiful scenes of snow and the colored leaves on the tree.
But then they do fall off the trees. Is it possible that that recurring event every year reminds us that God and life are always calling us to let go – to help us realize we have no control over some things in life. And when you come down to it isn’t the greatest suffering for humans to know there are things they just can’t control.
Could it be that as they fall off the trees and the trees become barren that they remind us that life has many cycles – youth, middle age, senior adult life. And that we have only so many days on this earth and that we need to take advantage of the many opportunities to respond to the blessings God gives us.
And while the trees will look barren does their departure and rebirth in spring help us to understand that God will be with us always. While we all face barren days in our lives God will not abandon us but always provide new life.
In the end we really have no control over whether the leaves can stay on the trees or not – especially in Northeast Ohio. But if we could control it would it be ‘yes’ keep the leaves on the tree or ‘no’ let them fall and be brought back to life? What's your opinion or thoughts?