Leaves, like people, surround themselves and they only see what is right before them, what is uncrowded by other leaves. They change, grow, become darker in color and then lighter again. Their colors vary, not unlike us, as humans.
Humans, however, do get to choose what they see. We are not tied to a tree until October or even November. We are mobile. Yet, so often we keep our eyes straightforward, only swaying if the wind pushes us into a flurry. Often, when we drop from our tree, we have not lived fully, not in a real sense. We have died closed off. We do not have the excuse that the leaves do.
We can open and close our eyes whenever. We can take them with us or leave them behind, divert them to the side or keep them straightforward. Even when God tries to show us where to direct their gaze, we do have the power to ignore it.
I am guilty of ignoring things as much as the next person. To find yourself wondering how, dearest Lord, did this happen? My own ignorance of the world. How do so many people not see the same things that I do? My own ignorance of the world. And how can so many people overlook what is most rotten about a person?
My own ignorance of the world.
The truth is that we can often close ourselves off in our own little pockets, thinking that everyone around us understands the same things that we do, because our friends and family understand the world as we see it. We have created little sterile, safe spaces for ourselves, and clung to our trees, never escaping or daring to remember what the trees in other parts of the world see. Do they experience longer winters and shorter summers? Perhaps their autumn is a full month, while ours is a 2 week period. Maybe our trees are living in summer while others are in a seemingly never-ending winter. A 10 year winter. Maybe that 10 year winter is why they have become bitter with the winter winds, so desperate for either death or life to come for them, but dreadfully weary of this in between type of living.
And yet, is a long winter really an excuse to forget that there are other trees that want longer, more extensive warmth? Because they can feel the tips of their branches being tickled by the sun, are they so very, very wrong to want just a little bit better, a higher standard for all trees, everywhere?
I don’t know why people make the decisions they do. I want to believe that people do make bad decisions without malicious intent or discriminatory feelings. Lately, however, that is so very difficult to imagine.
All I can think of is that too many of us for too long have clung to our own branches, comfortable, neither reaching, nor seeing. Not wanting to see. Like leaves stretching toward the sun, we have ignored that which is ugly and dying beneath us, until it became so ugly it was unrecognizable. A monster racing from the darkness.
Above all, remember this: the solution to monstrosity is never to create a bigger monster. It is to heal with light, and love, and words. To listen, not shutter the voices, and to not be so smug as to assume that which is just and right will be done.
Take of these words what you will.