I just spent a weekend with my friend Natalie, about 70 miles from my house. As I left that Sunday morning I told her I’d let her know when I made it home safely and that I had to do hours worth of yard work as I was severely behind on my fallen-leaf management. UGH.
I arrived back home and sent her a text that I had made it and thanked her for her hospitality and a fun weekend.
Her reply text said, “Awesome, glad you made it safe. Have a great day, enjoy every leaf, it’s a blessing!”
I sort of laughed sarcastically as I read it and got geared up to work outside for dreadful hours on end.
I live in North Carolina, a deciduous forest. (Deciduous: the dropping of a part that is no longer needed, or falling away after its purpose is finished. In plants it is the result of natural processes.) As you can imagine, this means autumn is a gorgeous time of red, yellow and orange leaves that eventually translates to untold numbers of leaves on the ground and bare branches through the winter. I used to get all bent out of shape if I didn’t get all my leaves cleaned up out of the yard and put in bags by the street for the City to pick up. After years of this, I finally settled down and stopped worrying so much about it. After all, the leaves disintegrate and go back into the earth from whence they came, giving more nutrients to the soil. Why not leave some of them? Why not mulch most of them and let nature take its course? Why do people get so obsessed with “cleaning them up” and resenting every minute of it?
As I worked hard at mulching, raking and bagging leaves, I could not stop pondering what Natalie had said. “Enjoy every leaf, it’s a blessing!” I began to really think of them that way. On my own property there are millions of leaves. Translate that into blessings from God. WOW! His love for us is overwhelming!
There are leaves of different sizes and shapes and colors. Every single one is different from every other. Some are perfect in shape, some are cute, some have already begun to break down and are ugly. But when they all return to the soil, fertilizing it, they all create nutrition and give life to the grass, trees and plants they feed.
Isn’t this the same with each blessing we receive every single day? Every breath is a blessing. Every moment shared with a loved one. Food, clean water, shelter, family, friends, pets, jobs, opportunities to serve others. Some blessings don’t look like blessings at first glance. They may be ugly and painful as we deal with them, but they still end up feeding our soil (soul) and we grow because of them.
Suddenly I experienced such joy raking and mulching the thousands and thousands of leaves in my yard as I thought of each of them representing a blessing in my own life. Some are ground up and return back into my own soul to help it grow, and some are bagged up and put up at the street as if I am giving them away. If you look, you will see an over-abundance of blessings in your own life, even amidst your most painful struggles. Some are to be absorbed and enjoyed, and others are to be passed on to bless another life.
I will never look at leaves the same again – they will always remind me to be thankful to God for the unlimited supply of blessing that He has given me, and remind me to give as He unfailingly gives to me.
As we approach Thanksgiving, be sure to notice just how blessed you are and how you can speak life and blessing into the lives of the ones you love. Every moment is a gift. Every leaf is a blessing.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV
Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38