I’m sitting at our dining table looking out the back patio door. On the patio I see a leaf, dried and brown, but that is not unusual, especially at this time of year. Our yard is filled with leaves from the neighbors trees, it’s part of nature, part of how the world works.
The thought the leaf brought to my mind is that only a short time ago it was on a tree, bright green and shining. That of course led me to thinking about the course of our life also. Things change so very quickly don’t they? I mean, where has the time gone? I have been re-reading Melody and My book, “Living the dream, our life and adventures in Africa.” I just read a paragraph that spoke of my celebrating my 47th birthday in Kenya. That’s been 23 years and it is covered in just a few pages in a book. What happened? How did I get from there to where I am at now?
Yes, I could detail all of the steps it took to get where we are now, but isn’t that the question we all ask at some point? We are in school, maybe teenagers, maybe just married and suddenly we have grandchildren and many of the friends of our youth have already passed from this life.
There is an old hymn that has some very pertinent words for us about this process. The hymn is titled, “Swiftly We’re turning” and the words go like this:
“wiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, Swiftly the hours are changing to years. How are we using God’s golden moments? Shall we reap glory? Shall we reap tears?”
What happens to us is just that life happens as it is supposed to, as is according to God’s plan. You are probably familiar with the passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 where we are reminded that:
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Yes, an old, dried, brown leaf can have a lot of meaning if you just stop and think about it… especially when you think about it in relationship to the length of and purpose of your life. How are you doing?
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.