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Fall-ing

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It’s seems so vulnerable to see the leaf release from the tree and at the mercy of the wind.  Do you ever feel like that? Like you’re a leaf that’s just been released from the tree, just swirling, vulnerable, journeying to someplace unknown?

I’m so glad change doesn’t separate us from beauty. And even more surprising, change can land us right in the middle of beautiful purple flowers. A grace place. There’s such beauty in the surrender of the “fall”- (pun intended).

#beautynearme

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Feel. Cry. Accept. Breathe. Be.

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As I lay in bed nestled underneath the mountain of covers and listen to the rainfall- rhythmic and beautiful, constant and steady, I feel it soak into my emotional soul. The power and swell is larger than me. The process of drenching, filling and seeping as it comes into me and then the movement out of me is like a ritualistic, cathartic method of cleansing.

Maybe the sky is empathizing with me today as it lets the water go, knowing there is a greater purpose in the release.

Crying …

seems attached to something we would not want to live without. The process of surrender makes room for the much-needed strength that’s moving in to fill the void.

Feel. Cry. Accept. Breathe. Be.

#beautynearme

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Autumn’s Lace

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Some life cycles are more easily understood than others

The vibrancy of Spring’s palette sparks hope inside of us. We start our walks outside.

We meander paths we haven’t taken before. It’s the season of courage.

We notice the earth’s change; the yawn just before dawn.

Tightly bound buds emerge almost overnight and the chartreuse green on the landscape awakens our soul.

It feels like spring is easy to understand.

Then the summer takes the stage, with sounds loud and bold.

The flowing rivers and birds in flight, blooms and sunshine late into the night.

It makes us breathe deep and dream. Everyone relates to analogies of “summer days”.

It’s the season of adventure.

And honestly, even Winter in its stillness brings a calm.

It causes us to embrace sweet introspection.

The secret of silent growth and warmth sits dormant, but alive inside of us.

Yes, winter brings us in and keeps us huddling close.

It’s the season of quiet strength.

But Autumn… it’s a churning river of emotion.

One day vibrant, the next overcast and dreary. Fickle to the core.

Even the aspens in their golden blaze contrasts against the darkening sky.

Volatile: that’s the word that comes to mind; uncertain of the next act.

Just when the fire-color starts to sing the most glorious song, the music stops.

It feels we’ve just been slapped in the face.

Just like that, the letting go is upon us.

Like lightning surprises the sky, mid-song the silence emerges…

and the leaves let go.

Either carried by the river or settling to the dusty ground, they swirl fall, vulnerable to the wind’s whim.

There is a deep melancholy in my soul watching this.

The leaf that fluttered to the ground begins another journey; as if the first journey wasn’t traumatic enough.

The next journey is the hardest of all, and yet the most simple. It’s the journey back to dust.

With sadness for the pain and joy for the beauty,  I watch the ticking clock take it away piece by piece.

When I walk the path again, I’ll look for glimpses of a trace- just a trace of when the leaves turned to lace.

This bravery of relinquishment has a way of lingering in my heart.

It’s the beauty that will stay with me long past pumpkins, cozy blankets and warm drinks.

Nothing more beautifully reveals the delicacy of saying goodbye; of surrender; of trust,

than the graceful journey of Autumn’s lace.

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The Journey of Grief

flowers riverI think I should say up front that I am not an expert on grieving.  This is a fictional story, but in my heart it was a reminder that we are all interconnected. We each have a part to play in the lives of each other.  We carry burdens, love, laugh and cry in seasons.  We share, in joy and in pain. Today may be your turn, tomorrow mine…

It felt odd that a bundle so light and fresh could be such weight upon my shoulders.  Just a little bouquet of flowers was all I held as I made my way down the path to the river.  The night was calm. The iridescent moon was just making its entrance.  I noticed the beauty and it felt odd.  “Feeling numb and noticing beauty shouldn’t go together“, I thought.  Just a slight crisp breeze blowing ever so softly reminded me that fall was in the air. That seemed fitting…that the leaves would still be green and desperately hanging like beggars.  They mirrored my feelings. I’ve tried to hang on as long as possible; willing life to stay the same.  But it was not to be. Change was in the air.

I caught sight of the river and quickened my pace. “Almost there“, I thought. I immediately put “almost” on the list of words I despise. My list was growing. I came to the water’s edge and stopped.  It’s music today was more lullaby than orchestral. Crazy how the river music changed by the hour.  The bouquet of flowers was still in my hand, but it felt heavy like a weighted gun, war raging in my soul.  This place.  This sacred place was where it all began, and now, where it needs to begin its end. Why does letting go hurt so badly? Why does loneliness feel stronger than life itself? I held the flowers over the rushing sound and tightened my grip. I just wasn’t quite ready. I thought about taking them back home, but I knew his voice would haunt me. “I want you to do this” I heard him say. War is so hard on the body, but surrender seems so final. I thought ‘something’ would be better then ‘nothing’. Wouldn’t even pain be better than emptiness? The war raged for some time. My mouth, once stoic, trembled as tears hit the petals before they fell in with the river, floating away forever. I wish my tears were the pain, leaving forever…But is letting go forgetting? And then at once, without thinking more, I opened my hand.  It felt like it was happening to me, instead of through me. The flowers fell; moving, leaving me, just as I knew they should. Is that why he asked me to do this? Was this the point? With aching heart and hopeless steps, I walked back to life without him. And the next evening I made the same trip, just as he asked,  and held more flowers and cried again before letting go.

Two weeks of “letting the flowers go” brought a new routine. I can’t say I looked forward to it, but my walk among the beauty at night brought a deep richness. My river walks divinely placed me each and every night, at a point of decision. Surrender began feeling more like peace instead of war.  I marveled at this recognition and cried even more. Tears watered the roots and became a catalyst for growth and somewhere deep inside, I knew there was a bigger plan.  I kept going.  I couldn’t let him down.  It was the first night of the third week that I decided to walk further down the river after the flowers fell. I was still crying most nights, but somehow the tears brought with it a cleansing to this wound. I had only walked a little ways before hearing children on the other side of the river.  Laughing? Squealing? Or was that crying? I tried not to make a scene but followed closer to the voices, listening.

“Layla, Layla! Momma sent us flowers again.  She sent them!” Two little sisters were bent over the river’s edge, reaching for the bouquet.  My bouquet.  His bouquet.  The older sister grabbed them fast and handed them to the younger.  “I told you!  I asked God to give us a sign and let Momma talk to us.  See!” She held up the flowers of proof. He did!  These are from her.  Every night for two weeks!”  The little girl started laughing, while the older brushed away tears.

It was in that moment that my grief was overtaken by something bigger; a joy, I guess.  It made me stop and wonder.  How can my pain help someone else? The same flowers representing my greatest loss are life-giving to these girls! I imagined the girl’s mother smiling at me, hugging me and thanking me.  I couldn’t even choke out a word.  I just nodded toward her.  How many people, if they knew there was a trade-off for the pain they carried, would take it so someone else could experience joy? Maybe my end is someone else’s beginning? I decided that this is the way I would view my grief and loss from now on; a decision to love others; to take and shoulder pain so someone else could experience some joy. Maybe even for little girls who needed love from their mother.

And so my nightly ritual continues.  Not for him, or for me, but for them.