Monday, October 31, 2011

Free as the Fall Leaves

A week or so ago I sat near my front window praying, and I couldn't help but listen to the rustling of the leaves as they danced across the ground, propelled forward by the cool fall breeze. It was one of those days where the sun was shining, the sky couldn't have been bluer, and the leaves were painted in hues of indescribable beauty. But what really captivated me was the dead leaves scurrying along the ground. I noticed how free they were. Free to move, free to fly, free to go wherever the wind would blow them. Free as can be. It reminded me of how Jesus describes the Holy Spirit like the wind, saying that it blows wherever it wills and no one can see where it comes from or where it's going and so it is with people of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

I imagine that people of the Spirit are a lot like those leaves. They are free to go wherever the Spirit moves them. Why? Because they are not attached to anything in this world. I noticed the leaves that remained on the tree. With each gust of wind, they would ripple and flutter, but they never broke free. I found it interesting how they were only holding onto the branch by a very thin, seemingly fragile, stem, and yet no matter how fiercely the wind blew, they could not break free. So it is with us. We may only be holding onto the things of this world by a very thin stem, but even so, we are still attached. And if we remain attached, we will never know the freedom of being able to go wherever the Spirit leads.

I want to be like one of those free-wheeling, spinning, rustling, flying, dancing leaves. Unattached. Free to go wherever the Spirit wants to take me. Of course, the parable does not end here. To be like one of those leaves - only one condition is necessary. You have to die. I speak here of death to self. It is our own selfishness that keeps us holding fast to the branch, unwilling to let go. We are afraid to let go because we think if we do we will lose our very self. What we don't understand is that it is only through dying to ourselves that we can become our fullest, most fulfilled and best self. Only through dying to ourselves can we dance the dance of freedom and become people of the Spirit.

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