'When The Leaves Fall' Patti Amsden

I sat at my kitchen table looking through the window as the sun was rising and casting early morning rays upon the fall landscape. The beautifully-colored foliage, which had adorned the trees for the past few days, had endured a hard wind throughout the night. Many leaves had been knocked off the branches and were now creating a kaleidoscope of color on the ground. Almost immediately, my memory was flooded with thoughts of my childhood and snapshots of my children’s younger days when piles of leaves meant hours of play. My heart warmed at the reflections. 

As I continued to gaze and reminisce, I became aware that I could see the neighbor’s home across the pond. Throughout the summer days when the trees were thick with foliage, that sight had been blocked. The plethora of lush green leaves filled all the branches creating sort of a barrier to that which lay beyond. The greenness of the grass, the looming 25 foot high maple, and the flourishing bushes of summer all told me that my immediate surrounds could fill me with abundance, fruitfulness, and bounty at my finger-tips. I did not have to look far or search for distant treasures when summer’s copious growth reached to my doorstep.

But that morning, I noted that the tree only sported about one-fourth of its leaves, the grass was faded and sparse, and the bushes only donned a few spots of brown foliage. Although the autumn colors were lovely, the landscape seemed to be testifying that the season of abundance was fading from view. 

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My reflections were almost immediately replaced with contemplations. I thought of the time when our family was in a major season shift. My husband’s career had yielded great satisfaction to him and a good income for the household. We had been able to build a new home that had enough bedrooms for our five children and even included a pool in the back yard. Each week the paycheck came. Life was full with that season’s proliferation.

Church ministry opportunities beckoned to both me and my husband. I was frequently being called upon to travel and teach the Bible. He was offered an opportunity to plant a new church and fill the senior pastoral roll. After much prayer and seeking counsel, we decided he would be bi-vocational until ministry could financially support our family. We planned to traverse the seasons without any change to our thriving environment.

Then one night, a hard wind blew. It came in the form of a fire that burned our business to the ground. As we surveyed our immediate surroundings, the lushness and the bounty of the past season had been stripped from view. The big warehouse, the stored inventory, the pending jobs, the stacks of contracts all lay in grey ashes on the ground. Before the fire, we had no need to look far or search for distant treasures because that season’s copious growth reached to our doorstep. But with the leaves of the former season stripped away, we were afforded the opportunity to look beyond and discover what had been formerly obscured from our view. For us, a new world of full-time ministry was on the horizon. 

My morning reflections stirred me to think about the disciples and the death of Jesus. His followers endured the storm of the crucifixion and discovered that their booming, flourishing ministry was in ashes. But beyond the grave lay the resurrection. The falling away of the former season produced a view that was previously obscured. New days and new horizons became visible. 

I arose from my window view on that fall morning with happy memories and hopeful expectations. No one can avoid the changing seasons. But when the burgeoning season begins to dry up and the leaves begin to fall, we have the opportunity to look beyond and discover a future of new possibilities.

Patti Amsden




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