A leaf. Behold a single leaf. So fragile, it tears like paper, crushes in your hand to a moist stain, sharply fragrant. Dry, it burns swift and crackling as newsprint, pungent as gunpowder. Yet a leaf may withstand hurricanes, stubbornly clinging to its limb.
Hold it open in your palm. It is perfect as a newborn's smile. Pinch its stem between thumb and forefinger and hold it to the light. Eden bleeds through. Its veins are like bone work in silhouette. This single leaf, joined to the tree, drinks poison from the air, drinks it serenely as Socrates downing his cup of
hemlock, and refuses to return in kind, instead spilling out life-giving oxygen. This leaf tilts to catch the sun, its warmth and radiance, to distill the heat and light down to the shadows, down to the roots, back up to limbs. To shade the earth. To feed you and me.
A leaf. God makes these season after season, one after the other, billions upon billions, from the Garden to the New Jerusalem, most for no eye but His own. He does it faithfully, or else I would not live to tell about it, or you to hear.
Perhaps of all my many sins against heaven, this ranks with the worst: Until this moment, I have never thanked God for a single leaf.
Which is the problem with faithfulness: We hardly notice it. Faithfulness is, by definition, the predictable, the habitual, the sturdy, the routine. It is the evidence of things seen, but seen so often we've grown blind to them. It is the substance of things expected, expected so unthinkingly that we now take them for granted.
Today, we raked. And I am reminded to say, "Thank you, God, for leaves; for family to share them with; and for your great faithfulness which provides my strength for today and bright hopes for tomorrow."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Leaves to Rake
Today, we raked.
Naptimes are becoming less frequent in the Tapper household. Though not yet completely nonexistent, the afternoon times of quiet tranquility are no longer expected by this mother. So, instead of counting on an hour or two of "my" time, I try to be intentional about planning my day in such a way as to get the things I need to do (without kids) done during the times of the day when the children are happy to play by themselves and to enjoy other activities together. Sometimes, it even works.
Then there are those other days when you just try to make something work.
Today, we raked.
It was something we could do together. Even though it wasn't necessarily on my list of things to do today, it is the kind of activity that provides some measurable sense of accomplishment once you've completed it. It's a good energy-burner for active preschoolers. And all the romping and stomping and rolling and tossing that go together with raking made us laugh and giggle and take lots of pictures! It all also reminded me of a section from Mark Buchanan's book, the Holy Wild: