I sit in silence on my back porch, contemplating. The leaves are worshiping all around me in a kaleidoscope of color. I sit and wait, for what? I do not know. I am drawn inward to listen for words which do not present themselves. I have found in order to jiggle them loose, I must wait. Sit. Ponder. Feel. It is the feeling part that is most difficult these days. I’d rather be numbed, than feel what is currently in the atmosphere.
Momentarily lost in my thoughts, I am drawn back to my porch by the sound of the leaves rustling. The breeze is speaking. I listen and hear pitter patter, like rain, only not like rain. I am curious at the ‘non-rain’ rain sound. I take it in, recognizing the tones are different than the usual storms. There are no hissing or dripping sounds, only pitter patter. It is not water falling…it is the leaves. They swish on their way to the ground. With the wind, the kaleidoscope is moving and changing. Rogue leaves hang on for dear life. They do not know it, but they are already done, the hanging on will not last much longer. Others are falling with style, twisting and turning, like ballerinas in a dance with the breeze. Some are kamikaze and appear to be trying to take out as many others as possible by crashing into branches and leaves. On this day, the sun is out and the glow of the dying leaves is spectacular. Their constant shifting creates a new design every few minutes. It is mesmerizing. I cannot look away for the beauty of it. And yet…
My heart is silent. God is silent. Only the leaves are speaking as they drift downward. The grief of our world is nearly overwhelming sometimes. Like the leaves, it is a blanket that covers everything. Vivid reds are like the blood of the innocents, spilling out and seeping into the ground. Fiery oranges are the flames of disunity and discord that are burning up our world in hate. Yellows are the joy we used to know, fading away…buried in the decaying piles already fallen. My usual giddiness at autumn’s splendor is subdued by the death spreading across the world. A car running people over on sidewalks in New York, followed by the shooting in Texas during a worship service. War in other countries is killing innocents by the thousands and starvation is killing the rest. Storms have stolen stability and life from people in several regions, and fires burn homes to ashes in others, lives going up in smoke.
The wind groans, the leaves fall. The rocks and trees which usually cry out praises are heavy with the losses from our sin-saturated world. We are a fallen creation. Even those who don’t believe in sin are seeing the results of it now, and asking ‘What is going on here?’ Eyes are being opened to truth of what our world looks like when left to our own devices.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, and we all know it. Deep down, our souls cry out for relief. The crazy thing is, sin has been forgiven…all of it. We need only to receive what was freely given and walk in grace, but we resist. We wrestle and writhe and insist that we have things well in hand. And the leaves continue to fall. The silence grows.
The day when God is absent, when he is silent…that is the beginning of prayer. Not when we have a lot to say, but when we say to God, ‘I can’t live without you. Why are you so cruel, so silent?’ This knowledge that we must find or die…makes us break through to the place where we are in the Presence. If we listen to what our hearts know of love and longing and are never afraid of despair, we find that victory is always on the other side of it.” Anthony Bloom
The silence at this moment is deafening…but, it is creating a longing, not for God’s gifts or his hand, or what he does for us…but for God himself. He is a place a safety, love, and belonging. A place of grace and acceptance. The wind blows, the leaves fall, and in the silence…our hearts cry out.