One leaf: A grief haiku

This is a devotional written for Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church.

After a recent visit to one of my hospice patients, I got back in my car and noticed this leaf on my windshield. One single leaf, looking as though it was suspended in mid-air! A gentle breeze then blew it across the parking lot. A fleeting glance of that leaf reminded me to sit back and look up and cherish each moment. Hard times. Good times.And in the transition of experiences in between… in all of these, God is there.

At the end of the Flood narrative in Genesis 8, there is a Divine promise that the Earth and its seasons would resume again. 

“As long as the earth endures,  seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,  summer and winter, day and night,  shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)  

God made this promise to Noah after Noah’s world had been completely and totally upended by the Flood. A promise that the order described in Creation would return. Putting myself in the mind of the ancient peoples who experienced this massive flooding, I can imagine needing reassurance! The unthinkable happened! I might have been among those who threw up my hands and said, “Now what, Lord?”

This autumn I have been watching with anticipation for the incremental changes in the leaves until the moment when the fall colors peak. Every day as I drive to my various appointments, I am mindful of the transition from the rich greens of summer to the oranges and yellows of fall. I marvel at the sheer beauty of the sun lighting up the leaves. It’s my favorite time of year! There is a comfort in knowing that after summer’s heat comes the cooler, crisp nights of autumn, that the chill of winter will be followed by the glorious celebration of spring. 

I’m also reminded, though, that things do not stay in stasis. Just as plant life is constantly changing throughout the growing season, so we face new experiences, some delightful, some challenging. One day into the next is not the same. And what is “normal” in the time of a pandemic, anyway? That’s beyond our knowing!

Holy One, Thank you for the constancy of the rolling of the seasons from one to the next. Thank you for being Present for us in the midst of impossible situations, as you are for the most joyous moments of our human existence. We are grateful for your faithfulness to us, morning after morning, season after season. In Christ’s Name – Amen.

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