November 19, 2013

Autumn Leaves

I learned long ago that food is most enjoyable when it uses multiple senses. Not just taste, but sight, smell, sound and even texture. Think of the shock through your teeth as you crack off a shard of peanut brittle or toffee. Remove the 'snap' of the fracture, and the experience changes a lot.

Truth tends to seep from one area of my life into the others, and being outside for me means using all of my senses. I just spent a wonderful half hour outside, doing nothing but sitting. Looking, listening, smelling, feeling... I let the wind and November chill and decaying crackle of autumn sink deeper than skin. I use such time to look for God; I believe he is present and his character is scrawled in bold letters in the world around me.

Trees have taught me a lot about truth. Just today, crunching through the leaves hiding out in my garage, I saw leaves in a new way. Leaves are trees' means of trapping and using light. Different trees have different shapes and colors for leaves, but their purpose is the same. Every year, though, a tree gives up its light and hunkers down in hibernation, enduring death until spring. Every fostered method of trapping light becomes nothing more than noise, a rustling heap of refuse to rake. Hearing the crispness of leaves underfoot, I have to ask honestly: how many habits do I have that no longer catch spiritual light for me? They may look pretty, or even fill the air in a tempest and make fascinating noise, but they no longer serve a purpose.

I'm not saying that every spiritual practice should eventually be discarded. Rather, I want to make sure that my ways of looking for light, of working it into the roots of my life, ARE still seeking and finding light. If the habits are only habits, then I want to sever connection with them in preparation for growing new leaves.

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