I decided to get a little exercise in by raking a trillion leaves that we clearly didn’t make time for. They were still rather damp from the rains from a few days back, so the raking was more difficult with the added weight.
As I began raking the hoarded autumn leaves from our back stairs, I noticed how they covered the water drain, not allowing the rain to fall through. The rain just seeped into the leaves themselves, and slowly made its way down.
I began to rake the yard. It was too much to gather all the leaves in one area so I made three mounds and added leaves nearby to each mound.
And then it hit me. Hard. I began to think about all the layers I’ve allowed to cover my heart. Layers of burdens – shame, regret, pain, fear, anxiety. They laid on the soil of my heart and it was heavy.
As I raked the leaves and added them to the mounds, it was as if I was placing my layers at the altar before the Lord. I couldn’t see all the layers and layers, year after year, anxiety upon fear, fear upon regret, regret upon pain, and pain upon shame. As I kept raking, I kept uncovering the truth.
One mound for the Father.
One mound for the Son.
One mound for the Holy Spirit.
As I raked the leaves, I also found broken branches.
I made a heap for the sticks and mounds for the leaves. Leaves that became heavy, burdensome stones. Stones that covered my heart – making it cold and inaccessible. So now I had sticks and I had stones and a bunch of hurts I needed to name.
Oh Lord! Dig through the layers of these leaves of stones on my weary heart and heal me. Show me the hope you have for me. I know that there’s life underneath all these layers of dying – with your love, through your blood, by your power.
Death was gripping my heart, not allowing me to live – to breathe.
There it was for me to see. The layers I’d accumulated over my life that covered my heart. Clear as day.
But deep inside, under the layers, is a heart of flesh.
God will make it right.
And as I write, the wind outside is strong enough to lift the dry, lifeless, falling leaves, enabling a few of them to knock at my window looking for a home.
But I won’t let them in.
It’s time for the northerly winds to scatter them away.
But the leaves will continue to fall and I vow to catch them before they get too comfortable with me.
And so I wait, grasping at hope. Expecting to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
And I lift my hand and give them to God one by one.