The Maple Leaf

There is a place near the seafront where I often take Jack to walk and run.  It’s a beautiful place with vast fields right next to the open sea.  Seagulls are flying, waves are rolling to shore.  Along one side of the fields are trees of varying types, shapes and sizes.  There is a maple tree that I have enjoyed in every season.

Recently I watched the presence of Autumn in its leaves, making brilliant colors of red and yellow and bronze.  All too soon the leaves began to drop to the ground but that held its own beauty.  Jack and I both loved walking through dry leaves, hearing them crunch beneath our feet.

Last week there were several days of rain.  On a walk during one of these rainy days, I noticed a rather large maple leaf laid flat on the cemented walkway, plastered there by the rain.  On every subsequent day of our visit the leaf was still there.  Because it was so large I couldn’t help but notice it every time I passed.

Today as Jack and I walked along I began to look for this very familiar leaf.  We neared the place where I knew it would be found; only it wasn’t there, or was it?  I stood and marveled at the place where the leaf had embedded itself the cement.  The leaf was indeed no longer there but its imprint was perfectly formed.  That imprint will now be seen for many seasons and perhaps even years to come.  When I see this imprint I will always be drawn back to the beauty of its yellow color that first caught my eye.

That’s when I began to contemplate that you and I have the same opportunity to leave an impression of the life we have lived even long after we pass from this earth.  We leave imprints on other people’s lives by the way we speak or react to one another in any given situation.  How we imprint can influence someone else for good or for bad.  It’s like Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”  

It’s both a lovely and daunting thought that our words and actions are capable of encouraging or discouraging; of leaving a lovely memory or a nightmare in the mind of another.

May we all, with Father’s help, be careful of words and actions, that we may be lasting imprints of great beauty.

Like The Changing Of Autumn Leaves

Aren’t the changing colors of Autumn leaves absolutely gorgeous?  The bright reds and yellows against a backdrop of blue sky.  Bronze leaves covering the ground, making a crispy carpet to crunch beneath our feet.  Every year I look forward to the changing of the colors of the leaves.

But wait — what does that mean?  Autumn leaves only happen as a result of death.  The leaves are dying.  That’s beautiful?  Oh yes!  We can see with our eyes that it is indeed a gorgeous sight to observe.

It’s no different in the lives of God’s children.  There comes a time on earth that our physical bodies meet death.  But, for the Christian, it’s like the changing of the leaves; there is a beauty that comes.  Like green leaves changing to bright red, the longings in our hearts changes to “can hardly wait” to go.

I remember having the joy of being with my father during his last weeks on earth.  The very last week especially, was a wonder to behold.  His whole demeanor was peace, joy, and yes, longing to go.  “I’m going to see Jesus face to face,” he would say, a smile of wonder and anticipation so evident.  Like the glory of dying leaves, watching him was a beauty, hardly describable in words.

Many people fear death; it’s an unknown phenomena; not so for the Christian. We know what’s going to happen.  God’s Word tells us in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints.”  Why?  Because God knows, when it’s our time to leave this earth, we’re in the Autumn of our days.  We’re being changed, being prepared for our new bodies in heaven where there will no more tears and no more death.  Peace and joy will reign in our hearts forevermore.

A friend of mine contacted me this week to tell me that her mother had passed away.  Her mother had grown frail in body and mind, but had a desire in her heart to be with Jesus.  Yes, for the Christian, the changing of green leaves to Autumn colors in our lives, brings a deep peace and abiding joy.

Let us live each day to the fullest, enjoying the Summer and Spring of our lives with great gusto — but do not fear the Autumn — it leads to the most beautiful time of life yet — and it’s for eternity!