Birds flying from trees
Franciscan Spirit Blog

Falling Away to God

Sep 22, 2022
Red maple leaf | Photo by Andrew Small on Unsplash
If we’re going to live peacefully with each other and with our God-given Earth, many of us are going to have to let some things fall away.

I have always loved autumn. Here in the temperate Midwest, the deciduous trees put on a cloak of many colors that rivals Joseph’s. The maples flame in brilliant reds, the sycamores and poplars turn to burnished gold, and the oaks offer a stunning rainbow of hues.

Up until recently, it has mainly been the crisp, cooler weather and the fall colors that I have savored about autumn. But now, I have also begun to pay attention to what happens after the spectacular show of technicolor leaves: the trees let them fall to the ground, to become nourishment for the soil.

In this, the trees offer a valuable lesson about letting go as an essential part of a healthy life. Our kids grow up, and because we love them, we let them go. We are wronged by someone, but eventually, if we don’t want our grievance to consume us, we have to let it go. A job or a home or a relationship is right for a season, and then we have to let it go. In light of some recent health challenges, I have been struggling to let go of the idea that my body will always be a strong and reliable partner for my mind and spirit

If we’re going to live peacefully with each other and with our God-given Earth, many of us are going to have to let some things fall away.

We have to let go of the idea that we can keep burning fossil fuels and producing material goods without limit. We have to give up the notion that we have a God-given right to luxury and convenience at any social and environmental cost.

And as we face the consequences of our collective choices—a changing climate, the loss of habitat and species, landscapes irreparably scarred by human abuse, and human communities that suffer from poverty and injustice—we have to let go of the illusion that our presence on this planet has been merely benign.

Letting go isn’t easy. Even many trees, like oaks, beech, and ironwood, cling to their dead leaves throughout most of the winter. In fact, I don’t think it can be done without trust—as Jesus had when he submitted to the cross—that we are held in strong hands, which will never let us go, and that our empty hands and open hearts might receive new and even more precious gifts.


Keep reading!

Seeing the World as Kin

Living an Analog Childhood

Save the Planet on a Budget

Apart or a Part? Our Relationship to the Planet


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Comments

Mary Margaret
Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:48 AM
Mary Margaret
As most humans I have amassed a lot of stuff which is really unnecessary. I need to allow the LORD in to help me declutter and let go of the unnecessary and hold on right to Him.
Br. Gusty
Thu, 09/22/2022 - 12:41 PM
Br. Gusty
Amen, my brother. In a real sense, genuine repentance is a letting go of our narrow perspective for a wider, truer one. What we have done to this planet and its other life forms is a great sin that we will all be held responsible for when facing His judging Light.
Ron Krumpos
Thu, 09/22/2022 - 02:42 PM
Ron Krumpos
We should let go of the ego.
Andy
Thu, 09/22/2022 - 07:13 PM
Andy
People need to be able to let go of political attachments if their supported candidate is heading away from God. Also people need to be careful before chasing after newfangled ideas until their full truth and implications are known. Many traditional things are that way for a reason, eg classic teaching methods, the structure of the nuclear family home, etc. and our modern world has largely walked away from them, following at best misguided people and in many cases the attacks are malvolent at their root.
Dave
Sat, 09/24/2022 - 12:14 PM
Dave
Thank you Kyle for your consistent message of the need to reverence our world and repent from unmitigated consumption. Our vanities and undisciplined appetites have marred God's creation, and as Br. Gusty notes, are sins for which we will be held accountable.

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