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Two Minute Meditations by Phil Ware
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Last Leaves of Winter

    There was absolutely no apparent rhyme or reason to their asymmetrical stubbornness. They clattered in the freshening north wind as January brought another blustery cold front roaring through Texas. Scattered all over the tree, some on the ends of limbs and others near the trunk, forty or fifty cantankerous leaves refused to relinquish their grip and take a ride on the wind toward their inescapable date with decay.

    What made these leaves even more amazing to me was the year they chose to keep their grip. We’ve just had the coldest November and December in our recorded history. We’ve experienced blustery cold fronts accompanied by ice storms and rain. Whole limbs, even complete trees have come crashing down. Not these last leaves of winter, they’re holding fast. Hardship and bad conditions have only made them more durable and tenacious.

    What am I to make of this last-to-leave-us bunch?

    Should they remind me of those who are hardheaded and refuse change, who oppose the inevitable, and cling to what they know even if it’s passe?

    Are they reminders of how tenaciously we often cling to physical life because we only see the face of death and the fear of falling as our only future?

    Or, do we seem them as inspirational reminders of those who hung on until the troops arrived, nature’s equivalent of those troops rescued by General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge? The leaves are our assurance of Spring, and they won’t let go until their next generation of reinforcements arrive!

I’ll let you decide...
    Or, do I simply recognize that tough times can make for some tough folks; folks who persevere in the harshest of circumstance and despite all odds?

    Or, am I led to question why some simply lay down and die, while others hang on in the face of what appears to be utterly hopeless?

    I’m not going to make the application for you today. Instead, I’ll let you decide which meditative trail to spend your introspective moments contemplating. However, I do want to make one simple point: God has chosen to reveal parts of himself, and his truth, through his creation. (Check out Romans 1 and Psalm 19 again!) In our super-busy world, with our super-saturated schedules, and incredible fear of silence, we rarely pause to listen and look for the sounds and sights of the seasons. This is especially true of winter, that cold, bleak, and unwelcome guest for many of us. There is a real contemplative beauty inspired by Breath of heaven whistling down the north plains and rattling the last leaves of winter, ringing the scattered wind chimes on neighbors’ patios, and bringing color to cheeks. The real challenge is for us to stop, listen, and learn what is God is telling us in his still small voice we so often drown out with the din of our own fretful hearts and noisy ways.

    Let’s listen for the clatter of the last stubborn leaves that won’t let go and ask God’s Spirit to help us understand what he is trying to communicate to us. Maybe then, winter will be more than the cold season of barren landscapes and the restlessness in our hearts for a word from God will be stilled.

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A full archive of past articles by Phil Ware is maintained.
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Related Heartlight Resources:
Seed Time
Growing in the Cracks

About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "Last Leaves of Winter"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: January 22, 2001



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