Raking Leaves

Last weekend, a neighbor came over when he saw us raking and playing in our leaves.  He said that he was too busy to rake his own leaves and offered to pay my son to do the job for him. Of course, my 10-year old jumped on the chance!  He raked and raked and then raked again – finally getting the yard cleared.  And while he raked, he dreamed of how he could turn it into a year round business, offering to shovel snow, rake leaves and mow yards for the neighbors.leaves

And as I see leaves fall on the freshly raked yards, I realize that the job is never ending.  And then a vision struck me – only through the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, because I can’t come up with this on my own!  I could see our lives reflected through the grass growing in our yards.  That grass is like the goodness of our souls – sometimes green and lush in times of great spirituality.  Sometimes dry and parched, in need of quenching rain.  Sometimes we are dormant and cold and other times we are just waiting for a spring shower to push us to new life.

But in the fall of our lives, leaves of sin fall into our souls.  They cover us and can prevent us from even seeing the goodness and hope of our lives.  And if we let the leaves lay on the grass too long, they can slowly kill away the grass, just like sin can eat away at our souls.  We have to constantly clear away the leaves, through reconciliation, through forgiveness of others, through forgiving ourselves.  And inevitably, just as we get that yard clear, more leaves will fall – more sin will enter into our lives.

Sometimes the leaves that fall on our yard are from the trees that grow there – from our own doing, our own wrong decisions or bad feelings.  But have you noticed that the leaves in your neighbor’s yard, if left untouched can blow into yours?  In the same way, the sins of others can hurt us.  We see that in the tragedies in the news, broken families, or just hurt feelings.  But even if those leaves don’t fall from our own tree, we must continue to clear them from the yard, picking up the leaves that will harm us and separate us from the sunlight of God.

And as my son walked away from that clean yard with $10 in his hand, I reflected on how we can help clear other people’s yards too.  Granted, we cannot forgive for them or change bad decisions, but we can give them hope and love, clearing away enough of the leaves to allow God’s grace to shine upon them.

I pray that the Holy Spirit may strengthen your raking to clear your yard and those loved ones around you!     raking

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