I look out my window this morning and see naked trees, where just a couple of days ago there was a brilliant array of yellow leaves, and before that a lush forest of green. I realize with some sense of dread, that this is how it will be for the next eight months. Naked trees, hunkering down to their roots where their sugars are stored for the winter. Hunkering down. I’m not ready. I’m never ready.
In worship yesterday I asked myself the question, “Where is the blessing in this season?” As I settled with this question, I recalled a haiku by a 17th century Japanese poet, Mizuta Masahide: “Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.” I once bought a card with this saying on it (it was intended as a sympathy card), but I’ve never found the right occasion to send it to anyone. It comes to me now that being able to recognize the blessing that comes from tragedy, or from a season of despair, may not come until later. It doesn’t help someone who is grieving to say, “Hey, consider the blessings that may come from this loss.” But I met with a friend last week who went through a messy divorce years ago and is now in a much happier and healthier relationship with someone new. She says having her first husband leave her was devastating at the time but now she sees it as the best thing that ever happened to her.
Okay, so now I’m looking out my window again. I feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Wait—the sun isn’t being shaded by the trees. This feels like a blessing. The sun is also shining more directly on the solar panels we installed on the roof last summer. That’s a blessing, too. I look more closely at the birch trees as they reflect back the light of the sun, unencumbered by leaves. Beautiful. Blessing.
Maybe I need to be more like the birch trees, slowing down, sinking down to the tap root, reflecting the measure of Light I’m given today, and waiting.