...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lessons in the Leaves

(Watch out, she's gonna get preachy in this one.)

So, we have a new home (p.s. we love it).
Part of our new abode is an inheritance of trees which surround our yard.  Get a glimpse of some of them (and our camera happy dog who wanted to be in every shot) right here.

I LOOOOVE trees, so I'm kinda in love with our yard (except I don't really love the aspen trees that are butting up against the house as I'm not a huge fan of trees bumping the house -- they may have to go).  I love shade, I love birds, I love the rustle of the wind outside the windows.  Trees rock!

Until they decide to get naked.

A plethora of trees has also meant a plethora of raking leaves around here the last few weeks.  It's good work for a family, though, so I haven't even really been annoyed with it.  

And, another plus, West Jordan provides residents with a green waste container so we've had a quick and easy place to deposit our collection of falling friends.  We've filled this baby every week since we moved in (and we've also made trips to the Kearns Park on 4000 West and 5200ish South where they have dumpsters for bagged leaves during November).

But this morning as my elementary kids and I were raking one more time (it WON'T be the last), we learned a lesson.

We rake the leaves into a huge pile, then spoon them into garbage bags,  moosh the leaves down, fill again, and eventually dump the pulp into the green waste container.

It was windy this morning and became very important to have a person holding open the garbage bag so that I could get the leaves through the mouth of the bag.  The hardest part was when the bag was empty so it tended to flap and blow in the gusts of wind making it hard to maneuver my pile of tree droppings inside.

Gavin, my 11 year old, noticed this and commented on it while trying to control the bag.  "Mom, when this thing is empty it is a nightmare to try to keep it still.  It moves all over until you start to get some leaves in it, then is settles down and it goes a lot better."

And that's when an object lesson fluttered down on us all.

It occurred to me that the trouble with the bag and the wind is just like us in our lives.  We are the bag, and when we are empty, when we have nothing to keep us firm and grounded, we flit and flicker every which way pushed by any opinion or idea that blows by.

However, if we start to fill ourselves with truths -- even small ones -- piece by piece we build a foundation that will hold us solid and keep us from wafting helplessly in the worldly winds of doctrine.  On top of that, the more we fill ourselves with goodness, the more our base is set.  As we become steady and strong it gets easier to add even more principles to the gaping mouth of our container.  The more we fill, the better it goes.

I shared my new insight with my kidlets (who responded with various levels of interest or eye rolling), but I wasn't so much the teacher this morning as the teachee.  It was a good lesson, and something I want to do better.  I want to seek out all the best leaves and plop them into my sack one by one until I am firm and founded and no longer affected by the winds of judgment and attitude and arrogance and drama that blow around me (and hopefully, I won't bet adding to that wind either).

It was an unexpected lesson, but one that I'm glad I got (even if not all my babies felt the same way about it).  Who knew I'd be learning from leaves today.  

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