So there was this leaf the other day.
That's the one. We passed it on a walk during our week of November summer. This was not a well-timed picture. I did not see it fall from the tree. It was a leaf suspended in mid-air. It was magic! Wingardium Leviosa!
(Okay, fine. It's caught on a spider web.)
I've been trying to think about it metaphorically since. I mean, you can't very well pass a levitating leaf and not look for the deep significance, right?
For awhile, I thought I was the leaf. I thought maybe it had to do with trust or perseverance or something, and then today it dawned on me: The leaf is dead. It's hanging on, but it has no hope of survival once it hits the ground.
I think I am, in fact, the tree in this metaphor, and I realized it while looking out my window at the trees working to shed their leaves. Some trees take more time than others (our front tree has barely lost any leaves), but they all have the same goal: get rid of the dead, so that re-growth can happen in the seasons to come.
The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.
So, I thought about the leaf and the spider web. And I thought about my life. And I wondered if there was something I was having trouble letting go of. And then, a little later, I had this conversation with Jake:
Jake: Why are you crying? (Ahem. A few inserts here: 1. His tone was one of compassion not annoyance 2. This is a moment in time that I'm sure anyone who has experienced the cries of multiple children for lengthy periods of time can understand. Just a good old fashioned breaking point.)
Me: I'm just frustrated. I kept looking forward to Norah's first birthday thinking everything with the girls would be easier by now. But this is even harder than what I thought was hard back then.1
It was in this exact moment that I was reminded of something I had read approximately four hours earlier (yes, obviously Jen Hatmaker wrote it):
Let go of what you expected and embrace what you have. The tug of war between expected and actual is what kills the spirit. God does his best work in reality. That gap between expected and actual is where grace takes over.2Maybe the magic leaf was coincidental, but (more likely) I needed a reminder to let go of my expectations and embrace what I have. Let God fill the gap with His grace and sufficiency (the constant in every season). I'm a much better mom and wife and general person when I let God do His work in my reality rather than existing in the gray space of what I expect the future to look like.
So, I'm back to reality, and let me tell you, there is freedom in the letting go. Release and you'll find release.
This is the stuff of hope. I'll rest my wand on that tonight.
1 Perspective is key. My "hard" is relative (and not really all that hard). Which makes me think of what I said HERE.
2 I found these thoughts HERE on Hatmaker's blog admidst some notes she had taken at a MOPS conference. It was like a jewel hidden at the bottom of the page just for me to find.