Unburdened of myself
I discover your orbit
and float in tighter circles
around the warmth of this risen skin
closer and closer until we touch
undiscovered days and hold them,
rising and setting,
un-calendared between heaven and earth—
certain of both,
afraid of neither—
love freeing us from all gravity
as we swallow the Milky Way together
and wonder how far the speed of our new shared light will take
this finally answered prayer,
determined to find the weight of those
surrounded by something darker than this night
and carry them
as we, ourselves, were shouldered by those
who brought us to this understanding:
we go only as far as those we bring with us.
On some mornings, I step outside and imagine myself among the Galilean hills, standing by the shore, waiting for the sea to brush my soles with its foam, feeling close to Jesus.
At first glance, this early morning looked for all the world like the grayest, dampest, most depressing un-dawning of a day I could remember. I hoped my little dog would get his business over and done with quickly so I could leave the sad state of the world behind and get back inside where it was warm and I could let there be light with the flick of a switch.
If I were looking for a moment by the Sea of Galilee today, it was nowhere in sight.
The World Series was over, which always leaves me melancholy as I bid farewell to my daily summer companionship with baseball. And, of course, that also meant Daylight Savings Time would leave—that night, in fact—an exclamation point to hammer in the return of darkness and the coming coldness of winter.
My annual adaptation to the falling of the year never comes easy. I’d have more success adapting a novel into English from a language I can’t read. For at least two weeks every November, I slog through—mentally and spiritually—making sure I’ve picked out a good novel by P.G. Wodehouse to read as I gain inner traction (which means any of Wodehouse’s 80-plus books).
And then I took a second glance.
What dawn was this?
The sun seemed to be rising up through the trees, stretching out through their limbs and glowing in their leaves of orange, yellow, red and every combination of those colors imaginable.
Literally, the leaves seemed lit up from within to such a degree that the world around me appeared to be filled with light.
Each leaf was a glowing ember that warmed my soul.
Against the grayness of the sky, the autumn leaves were nearly neon. The trees had puddles of light where their leaves had fallen, a reflection-like mirror so that I could see the truth:
The light that really matters doesn’t rise and fall from the east into the west each day and the departure of Daylight Savings Time cannot take it away.
The light that matters most finds a way to shine up through us into the world, as it seemed to be doing through the trees and their leaves on that first Saturday morning in the eleventh month of the passing year.
Just like Jesus said it would.
As our hearts overflow with God’s love and grace we spill over the brim of our own lives toward those around us. Like un-corked champagne from a shaken bottle, it simply cannot be stopped.
God reaches the light of love and grace into the world through our willing hearts even when every clock on the planet is re-set to accommodate a season of darkness.
Sometimes, only surrounding grayness can translate the immortal language of the truest light into words we can understand and share with one another.
Especially sharing with those whose own limbs feel leafless and silhouetted against a sky to which they are praying for light.
The wind suddenly blows my fallen leaves into yours.
And, just now, yours into mine.
They are so mixed up together now I cannot tell whose are which and which are whose.
But, it doesn’t matter.
Together, we shine.
Fall has risen.
Galilee’s tide is high.
Our soles are awash.
And, in this moment, we are not alone.
“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I am the last leaf at the bottom of the sky.
Heaven seems to end just where I begin.
The last breath of angels just where I first inhale.
A leaf I am.
And shall always be.
I shall never grow up to become a tree.
Not even a twig.
Leaves don’t do that.
Not a tree. No, not me.
But I am changing colors now.
Just like the sky that seems to end right where I begin.
Just like the sky when the sun comes and goes,
or is it me spinning away from all the light I will ever see
but then—always—spinning back again?
Red, yellow and orange are turning my green inside out.
Just like all the rest.
The leaves that have fallen before me.
Green together at the bottom of the sky
until the sky began to paint us with its colors of dawn and dusk, heaven brush-stroking me in ways I never dreamed possible. The sky always listening.
The sky always there.
Even in the darkness when I cannot see a thing
and I whisper leaf words toward where I believe the sky to be,
￼hoping heaven will hear me
even though I am just one leaf.
Even though I am not a forest.
Not even a sapling’s dream.
Even though I feel my roots clinging fiercely to the earth at the same time the wind seems to give me wings.
I am flying in place.
Being somewhere already.
Right where God put me.
A leaf until I finally leave.
And that is enough for me.
Angels—somehow—all around me.