The Sacrament of Letting Go
by Macrina Wiedekehr
she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red.
finally she let go of her own brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky,
she began her vigil of trust.
Shedding her last leaf,
she watched it journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the colors of emptiness,
her branches wondering,
How do you give shade with so much gone?
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and the sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
that kept her hope alive.
They helped her to understand that
her dependence and need,
her emptiness, her readiness to receive,
were giving her a new kind of Beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence,
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.
Yesterday as I biked to work, I watched as colorful leaves danced and swirled, bidding their final goodbyes. The warmth of this season is slowly coming to an end. Despite my love of winter, there is always a bit of sadness as the last few leaves fall quietly to the ground.
The last couple of years though, I have come to appreciate this season of in-between. This time after color and before the quiet dusting of winter settles onto the tree. There is something incredibly beautiful in the simple skeleton of a tree.
At first glance, the tree void of its colorful leaves may seem to be empty of beauty. A closer look however, reveals an underlying strength and elegance that would not have been visible were it not for the bareness of the tree.
No one likes to feel empty, to stand naked in a sense with nothing to show. And even though we enter the world with nothing, and will leave it in the same way, we want the in-between to be filled with something. We want lives filled with meaning, covered in beauty. To this end, we try and fill our life with things that we think will make us more attractive, our merits and badges. All the while, God is gently stripping us bare, revealing the beauty that is already there.
So today, I am learning from winter trees.
I am okay with empty.
I will rest, wait, and trust.
I will trust, that God is always turning our formless and empty into something beautiful.
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” Genesis 1:2