lets go of a leaf or what holds a seedling. Did you, like I did as a child, catch one of
those little winged seed pods, and send it on its way like a miniature airplane, to find a landing spot of ground even its tree could not have imagined? Weren’t we like the wind in joyful abandon directing its destiny!
Is there some sense deep within a tree’s “soul” that delights in offering up or down a fruit of its essential spirit?
I had these unusual (maybe you might call them strange) reflections the other afternoon while reading the poem I can no longer find. And somehow the idea of letting go and when that exactly happens has seemed, in retrospect, to nourish my thoughts about the stewardship of the gifts which accumulate over time in us and which seem to long to be released into the world around us. But gifts which I suppose, because of our human nature, we cling to.
I was struggling with just what to do as I was personally considering what seemed to be asked of any of us at church “pledge” time each Fall. In the time/talent/treasure stewardship “trinity” the word “treasure” stood out. Definition time. Treasure as a noun. A quantity of valuable objects; wealth, riches stored or accumulated. Treasure as a verb. To treasure is to keep or retain carefully; to put away for security for future use.
St. Catherine’s School (for me grade school through high school) had a school motto: “What we keep we lose but what we give remains our own.” All my life I have been confused by this saying. Just what does it mean; just what does this look like as a motto by which to live life?
The tree gives away its treasure, its riches, Fall after Fall. If it holds on to its leaves, seeds, acorns, the treasure it has to offer, those riches simply stored are of no use, to the tree or the environment around the tree. If the tree lets go of its treasure, that treasure nourishes everything around the tree. Even the leaves as they fall to and cover the ground enrich and mulch the soil that will cradle and release nutrients to nourish the roots of the tree that it may be fruitful again in due season. What goes around comes around, again and again.
I’m seventy-five years old. It’s been fifty-eight years since I graduated from St. Catherine’s. As I contemplate my 2020 pledge to St. John’s and Farnham church families, maybe I’m finally seeing with 2020 vision how that motto really works for leading a rewarding, fruitful life. As I sense some letting go, I give thanks for the message from the trees around me, teaching me about Divine ecology. May I and all of us live into their teaching and experience the what-goes-around comes-around generosity that is divinely planted in all living things, even us humans. May we explore and find, like the trees, the same sense deep within our souls that delights in offering up or down the fruit of our essential spirit to nurture a 2020 vision for the years to come here at St. John’s and Farnham.