This week I looked through some old files–photos and writings that my husband Charles had accumulated and left for me to enjoy. I found the following piece and thought it was lovely so I’m sharing it with you here.
(For those who are new to my blog, Charles passed away in March of 2015.)
“Some years ago I attended a conference at Mount Hermon, a retreat center in the mountains outside Santa Cruz, California. It was a chilly, blustery, November day, with sunlight fleeting in and out of the stately Redwoods. Falling leaves carpeted the walkways and grounds.
As I sat in one of the sessions, intent on the speaker and his message, my attention was momentarily drawn to the large floor-to-ceiling windows to my right. The buffeting wind beat at the glass; a Dogwood tree was framed there, its rust-red leaves being carried away.
The three-day event was called the Fall Adult Conference. I had to chuckle at that, as most of us were indeed adults, senior adults that is, some even in their 90s. I, pushing the end of my 70s.
Immediately I was taken by the realization that in a few years most of us would be carried away, just like those leaves, carried to that place we have hoped for, have surrendered our lives to, in order to be with our Lord in His Love and in His Eternity.
My eyes swept the room, looking at the faces of my fellow attendees. Most were a bit tired and drawn, lined by the years, etched by events that had invaded their lives; events they had never dreamed would be theirs. All were survivors and, without my knowing anyone’s real circumstance, most seemed at peace.
Later, at dinner and at closer observation, again it was the eyes of my tablemates that captured me. Some were now gray, far from the brilliant blue of their youth. Some were sharp, keen observers of what was going on around them, sharpened by life in a world that wasn’t always kind, wasn’t always honest, wasn’t what they had wanted to idealize it to be. Some were tired, some rheumy, and some, it seemed, were already looking at a far distant place.
But for most there was a gentle graciousness in those windows to the soul. Perhaps I wasn’t just seeing my dear friends, but through them, I was seeing the everlasting presence of our Lord, and His magnificent love for each one of us.
Most of us, at this age, like to tell stories, true stories, of how we have managed to survive through failures, losses, and sin on our part. These are mine. Through these life experiences we can see one overriding fact, that when we lived them out alone, there had been terrible and terrifying catastrophes. When we walked with the Lord and listened and trusted Him, those trying times became ones that filled us with awe at the magnificence of His love for us.
Yes, the leaves are falling.”
I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.