Crunchy Leaves

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One of my favorite things about autumn are the crunchy leaves on the sidewalk. Don't you just love stepping on them and hearing the crunchy sound? I do. I love the scent in the air of the...well, yes - dying leaves! They go through this cycle so next spring they can have a new "crop" of buds that will create new leaves. In this way, the life of the tree goes on. It has to have a season of death in order to bring new life again.

Do you ever feel like your life has a season of death? I don't mean literal death, but it might be a harsh cleansing of the soul, bitter tears of agony spilled over regret or sadness, perhaps loss of control, grief for events taking place, worry, concern for a loved one, whatever might make your soul ache with agony in your heart. I personally like the word "turmoil." That so much explains how I feel at times when my world around me is not settled, change is occurring, transition is taking place, or just having trouble figuring out what is going on around me. It might be in politics, health, relationships, finances, spiritual warfare, etc.

What is so beautiful is a heart that then discovers peace. Perhaps it was through prayer alone, or that coupled with talking with an understanding friend, perhaps fellowship around the Word of God, writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal as a way to get the mind clutter and chaos from the subconscious to the conscious mind so you can organize your thoughts on paper. I have found this peace often with being alone, perhaps on a scenic drive and just praying to my Heavenly Father. But the result is peace, clarity, and new growth. Just as a piece of rough wood gets sanded down, so does our character in these trying times, to make us smoother, more mature and experienced, and stronger for new battles ahead. And just like the crunchy leaves on our feet and beautiful snowflakes on our tongue, we can take the hard times and appreciate the little blessings (and big rewards) of acceptance and increased faith in our loving Heavenly Father as we go through the changes in life, and then rejoice as we experience spring once again in our lives. Don't forget to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

James 1:2-4: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."


Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 13, 2017 - 4:33am
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 13, 2017 - 5:17am
This article drewme because I lovemautumn;'everything about it.  And whilst I am an atheist and do not pray (I may not; but, understand that it brings comfort to millions), I quite enjoyed he metaphor: our lives' cycle as the seasons.  Lovely stuff...
S.R. Morris Added Sep 13, 2017 - 7:16am
To the extent we experience turmoil in our lives, I imagine most have decreased "faith in our loving Heavenly Father." I would suspect most come to the conclusion God isn't very lovingly and reject religion. Seems like a far more logical place to go than to have increased faith, don't ya think?
Dawn Foss Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:18am
Thanks, Classicist!
S.R. Morris, I respectfully disagree. We have to look at trials as a means, an opportunity to grow and improve. If we had no trials, it would make it harder to learn lessons and use our muscles to get stronger. 
Take the hurricanes. Terrible mess. But good things came of it, as people had to band together or suffer more, so it cause people to step outside their comfort zones and help their neighbors. The Bible says that the trying of our faith works patience. We learn to take things in stride, not panic, but look critically at situations and find solutions. We can say, "I've been through this before" or "I've been through worse; I can handle this," and we feel more confident through that new trial. It matures us. A good parent lets his or her child work through some things, depending on the age and maturity of that child and what they can handle, being there for support or comfort, and that child learns how to work through struggles to come up with solutions. A bad parent smothers the child and keeps all harm away, and then when something comes up that is disagreeable to the child or difficult to handle and the parent isn't there, they crumble under the pressure. No, God is a loving Heavenly Father who is all wise, and I'm thankful He is there through my trials, but allows me to go through them so I can be a stronger individual. And if my eyes are open, I can always find little blessings as I go through them. Life is an exciting journey!
Dino Manalis Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:51am
Everything that lives has to die at some point, New life constantly is reproduced.  Enjoy life as long as it lasts and don't abuse it!
Dawn Foss Added Sep 13, 2017 - 10:07pm
Great advice, Dino!
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 14, 2017 - 8:26am
I agree with SR Morris.  Suppose I lose a child to some disease.  Will I really look at the situation as an “opportunity to grow and improve.”  No way.  I certainly wouldn’t think of God as some benevolent being.  That being, said I know there are plenty of religious people that continue to be religious following turmoil in their lives and I commend them for it.  However, the logical reaction from my vantage point is to reject God. 
Dawn Foss Added Sep 14, 2017 - 9:27am
Ari, I'm sorry to hear this. Blaming God for the loss of a child is misdirected and misunderstood. Please refer to my article for a more thorough understanding on this topic, which is a big one that deserves a detailed response. That article and the Part 1 article are packed with great answers to the renowned question: "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"
But to respond to your post, tragedy is a part of living in an imperfect world that is full of disease and crime and evil. No one celebrates that, nor should we. But in the midst of our despair there is hope, and that is what we can hold on to. We can be that shining light and comforting person to help one another through it. Prayer and God's Word and God's presence through our trials strengthen us, and we should not project our grief onto Him, but we should bring it to Him, as Someone who cares deeply about every aspect of our lives and loves us very much. None of us will be spared heartache in this world, but thankfully we have a loving God who knows all things, and has the power to bring good out of any bad situation.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 14, 2017 - 5:01pm
I'm too cynic to comment on that but good to see you're happy the way your are ;-)
Dawn Foss Added Sep 14, 2017 - 6:50pm
Why, thank you, Stone-Eater! :D
Ari Silverstein Added Sep 15, 2017 - 9:03am
I’m not saying people blame God for turmoil, I’m making the point that tragedy makes us question the existence of God.  That being said, if bringing our grief to God in the form of prayer makes one feel better about their life, than by all means, do so.  I just hope you can appreciate why some people may reject religion when bad things happen in their life.  
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:13pm
This rebirth is all around us. Some plants totally die, to the human eyes, during that period, while some remain ever green. These occurrences I take as a example of our life. Is this our first life? Did you remember the life in the womb universe, where those millions of planets (blood vessels) rotated to nourish you as the billions of stellar bodies in this Earth universe now nourishes us?
What does the Caterpillar and butterflies inform about regeneration.
No need for complex thinking. We spent 9 month in the womb universe and had to leave at that time to take a new form. We spent 80 + years on this earth and must change form to explore God's regal and immense creation, the universe and the multiverse. Did you think God made all that stuff and sat us down alone in this little corner, never to explore it?
Dawn Foss Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:56am
Ari, yes - I do realize that unfortunately people tend to blame God for their hard times. In psychology it is called projection, and rather than running to the One who can actually help them through it, they reject Him. We need better education so people can know God better. To KNOW Him is to LOVE Him. :)
Dr. Green, I'm not sure if you are talking about reincarnation; I reject that. But I do agree that there are so many stages to life. It is a beautiful thing. I think in the past I have felt like I wanted to get my life to a "perfect" state and keep it that way! I think a lot of people do that. But in reality, the older I get the more I see that the only thing that won't change is that things will change! We need to celebrate and enjoy the changes in life.
Dawn Foss Added Sep 16, 2017 - 7:58am
...that being said, I am not suggesting we celebrate tragedy, but rather try to find the good that can come out of tragedy. Where we choose to place our focus, the perspective we choose to own, will determine our outlook and whether or not we can find peace and healing, or bitterness and resentment through those trials.
Dale Murrish Added Oct 2, 2017 - 8:43pm
Dawn, you have wise comments responding back to those who wrote to you, and once again have written a great article. Thanks for sharing it!
I can understand why people going through tragedies often question the existence of God or whether He is loving or powerful enough to prevent the tragedies, such as yesterday's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Dawn Foss Added Oct 2, 2017 - 9:51pm
Thanks so much, Dale!
I also understand how it can look that way. People forget that tragedies like that are a result of evil, and God has allowed us free will. He is more sad than we are, I'm sure. He knows each of those beautiful creations of God personally. We only see a bunch of people. I often reflect on how small we are. When looking down from a plane, you can't even see individual people. Sometimes you can see cars if low enough, you can see buildings, but not those precious souls that inhabit them. Each person has an education, experience, feelings, value, people who love them. Each life touches many other lives. Mass casualties is such a huge loss of priceless value. It just overwhelms me in grief. It doesn't shake my faith in God because He grieves with me, or I guess I should say I grieve with Him. 
Dale Murrish Added Oct 3, 2017 - 9:16pm
God allows evil to happen, but is not the author of it. Evil happens because of people's rebellion against Him. I am glad He restrains it so that people are not as wicked as they could be. 
Dawn Foss Added Oct 3, 2017 - 10:20pm
Good point, Dale! Even Satan, while the prince of the power of the air, is limited by God in some ways. He was not able to unleash his full blow onto Job; God limited him by making him spare his life.