“Teach us to number our days, so that we may acquire wisdom.”
The Book of Psalms
It was a crisp, but not cold, magnificent fall day. I am surrounded by many others, all staring in a similar direction. In front of me I look up and see a leaf falling lazily to the ground. Leaves are like that. Sometimes they fly through he air, hitting the ground in haste. Other times, they saunter, taking their time, swinging back and forth in the breeze. Reminds me of a line from a song written by my friend Carrie Newcomer: “Leaves don’t drop, they just let go.”
On this day, the distraction of the leaf is welcome. I am standing with many others, all in various stages of grief. We are burying a wonderful Mother, Wife, Sister, and dear friend. From diagnosis to the grave was three months. We are suffering, in shock, and hurting deeply. The community of friends creates a powerful sense of humanity. We have all lived through this collective story, one with an ending we didn’t wish or hope for. And within this collective story, community gets created and reinforced. I often say we are “wired for connection.” That is what researchers tell us. That is why horses travel in herds.That is why we should not be alone.
In our deepest times of pain, can come our deepest forms of connection. It can be a healing balm, or it can make us rail against the unfairness. Eventually, hopefully, acceptance comes. Leaves don’t drop, they just let go. They cover the earth with a mulch and a bed to last for the winter. They hold and keep safe the new growth underneath, so it can sprout anew in the spring.
May we feel, and cry and rail against what we feel is so unfair. But, in the end, may we let go, as the falling leaf. Perhaps a new birth can come from the sorrow. Not today, not tomorrow, but some day. “Leaves don’t drop, they just let go.”
-And remember: Awe is all around!
Sincerely, Mindy Tatz Chernoff