Some of you may start reading this and think, “I SWEAR I’VE READ THIS BEFORE.” And, well, that’s because you have. You’re not going crazy. Not yet, at least. I’ve been updating old blog posts and came across this one. It talks about the seasons and why we should embrace change. It’s not a foreign concept by any means…but I think it’s an important one…and one we too often overlook for various reasons.
Normally I would edit the original post and put it on Pinterest with a fresh image. But, for some reason, after giving it a little makeover, I felt called to repost it. So, here I am.
I LOVE WHEN THE LEAVES CHANGE COLORS. It is one of the most beautiful things my eyes have ever seen. Nothing brings me greater joy than driving down Hawkins Parkway this time of year. It’s surrounded by trees, each one bearing its own various shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. I drive a little slower this time of year (I’m sure my friends just rolled their eyes in disbelief thinking my driving couldn’t be any slower than it already is…it’s fine).
Leaves change colors because umm…well, I actually don’t know the “technical terms” because I don’t do science. Trust me, it’s for the best. Seriously.
I once had to write a paper in Chemistry about WHO KNOWS WHAT. I had NO IDEA what was going on but needed to meet the 3-page requirement. So, I wrote my paper in triple-space thinking it would go unnoticed.
On another occasion, we were supposed to write a response (front and back…probably about a Planet Earth documentary), and I wrote in a highlighter yellow gel pen. When my paper was returned to my desk a few days later, the right margin read, “DO NOT DO THIS EVER (with three underlines) AGAIN.”
I don’t know the science-y terms and all that’s involved with the transformation process. Instead, I’m going to share with you my personal, simplified theory as to why trees undergo this change and what this teaches us about embracing change in our own lives.
Trees shed their leaves to prepare them for the upcoming seasons.
Okay, I believe my work here is done. Thank you and goodnight!
I’m just kidding. I’ll explain.
Because it doesn’t rain much during winter, if trees tried to keep their dying leaves, they would not be able to survive the severe weather conditions. Bare branches help trees survive winter because this enables them to store up water in their roots and trunks during the upcoming months so they’re ready to blossom when spring comes around.
There is, of course, a not-so-pretty part that follows…and never mind all the leaves we have to rake (I’m kidding, I don’t rake). But, spring will come once again. When it does, the trees will be prepared and fully equipped for this new season of life!
Now, I don’t speak tree, but I’d like to think they freak out and have mild panic attacks each winter (even though they’ve been through this process a hundred times before).
“OH NO. NOPE. NOT HAPPENING. NOT TODAY. You better hold on tighter. Too weak? Figure it out. Do some bicep curls. Quit taking in so much water. You’re bloated.”
“If you so much as even *THINK* about loosening your grip today…….”
“This is unbeleafable.“
They eventually give in and let it happen (like they have a choice…but let’s pretend they do for this scenario). They embrace change, trusting this process is preparing them for what lies ahead.
As I mentioned in Closet Rods, Spring Cleaning, and Letting Go, “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that we cannot hold on to things or people forever. Oftentimes, hanging on causes much more damage than letting go.”
In order to remain healthy and continue growing, a tree must let go of what is literally draining the life out of it. If a tree didn’t undergo this process, the entire tree would suffer later on due to poor growing conditions. Spring would come and it would be malnourished.
So, it gives into the forces of nature and decides to embrace change…because that’s what is best (“Bye, Feleafa”).
There’s a quote by an unknown author that says, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.”
We humans don’t like change. Change is scary. Change is different. It makes us feel weak and vulnerable. It stirs up a lot of unknowns beyond our control. But, like a tree, we must be willing to “let the dead things go” so we can prepare ourselves for the upcoming seasons of our lives.
A “dead” thing, in my opinion, is anything or anyone that’s keeping us from living well. It’s anything or anyone that literally drains the life out of us by creating poor growing conditions.
If a tree did not experience this change, it wouldn’t be apt to grow in the way that best suits the tree. In the same way, when we don’t embrace change, we’re not as apt to grow in the way that best suits us.
Embracing change is a necessary and important part of life because, without change, there would be no room for growth. To embrace change is to equip ourselves for the next season of our life.
It may seem like the worst thing in the world in the moment. But, as time goes by, we come to find change isn’t so bad after all. We wouldn’t be as prepared to face what lies ahead had we not “let the dead things go” and given in to the process.
What served us well one season is not necessarily going to serve us well in the seasons to come.
It’s harsh, but true.
SIDE NOTE: We can (and should!) still be thankful and PRAISE GOD for blessing us with whatever it was that once made us happy. Please do not grow bitter towards the past or regret it (this is a lesson I’ve had to learn and be reminded of a dozen times). Especially if those things or people served you well at some point! They were a part of your life for a reason. Their memories should every bit be cherished and recalled and smiled on. You can (and should!) continue loving things and people and seasons of your life from a distance!
Part of embracing change means having a sincere understanding of the places you’ve been and the places you’re going, and everything and everyone who played a part along the way.
Many of us have our own leaves that need to be shed but, for different reasons, we’re refusing to embrace change. We may think we can manage and we may try to manage, but we’re going against the forces of nature.
The proper growing conditions won’t allow it. The “bare branches” serve a purpose. We won’t be as prepared for the upcoming seasons if we don’t shed the “dead things.”
Remember, no matter how cold the winter, there is warmer weather up ahead. It may be hard to see right now, but spring will always come around.
Trust the process. Let the dead things go. Stay hopeful. Embrace change.