"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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The Lightness of Leaves

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , ,

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My girlies and I have spent the last few days raking leaves.  It is autumn and we have leaves in abundance.  Big ones, little ones, brown ones, orange ones, round ones, pointy ones.  Just having a Dr. Seuss moment.  But seriously, A LOT of leaves.  We have a friend who has one of those leaf-blower thingies...a power machine.  Unlike most men, my husband does not have a particular bonding relationship with his power tools.  For example, he chopped down one of our trees with an axe.  It was a big tree.  Fortunately, he realised that as a teacher, he needs to be able to use his hands in the classroom and the blisters, cuts, scrapes and bruises were a bit of a problem when it came to writing on the whiteboard.  So he let me buy him a chainsaw.  It sits in the garage.  Borrowing our friend's leaf-blower thingy?  "We don't need it."  And so I rake.

But in raking, I must admit, I have had a lot of fun with my girlies.  I raked little piles that looked like ant-hills all over our yard and they transported them (and each other) into one big pile of leaves in the middle.  The leaves were light and fragile but they took up a lot of space.  The girls would cry out, "is it big enough yet?" and I would say, "no, not yet..." (more leaves to rake you see).  Finally, as dusk began to settle, we put the rake and wheelbarrow aside...and we jumped.  We ran, skipped, tumbled, rolled and laughed.  We got cold and wet and dirty.  And it was fantastic.

Abby and Madeline in the Leaves

I've been thinking about that great pile of leaves that is still sitting there in the middle of our lawn.  So light, so transportable, so much potential for fun.  At one point I even buried the girls in the pile and as long as they didn't move or speak, they were well-hidden.  That many leaves could hide a number of things--heavy things--that would not be seen until we finally had to take the leaves away.  We could have buried bricks under the leaves and they would be dangerous to jump on, but they would be covered.  Perhaps with so many leaves, the blow of jumping onto bricks would be softened substantially.

Yesterday I wrote about the heaviness that brought me to my knees in prayer.  But later in the day, the light came.  Not the light that shines and obliterates the darkness.  I am referring to the lightness of so many things--so many blessings--that literally covered over the heaviness.  The heaviness wasn't pushed away, just covered.  Like the lightness of leaves.  Like leaves piled high onto bricks and blanketing them so completely.  The bricks would still be there, still potentially dangerous, but forgotten for awhile.  I think you get the picture.

It started when I picked up my kidlets from school.  Normally their exuberant and simultaneous sharing of their day is overwhelming.  Instant headache material.  But they are getting the idea (slowly) of "one at a time" and clearly, they all had had a good day.  In the car, they were unusually quiet but suddenly erupted into spontaneous giggling.  I realised they had been listening to the ad on the radio...about incontinence pads of all things...and all at once they found it terribly funny.  Unfortunate, I know, but when our Sam said through his chuckles, "oh, we don't need to hear about THAT," I couldn't help myself and joined them in their laughter.  A few leaves covering bricks.

Then at our girls' netball game, despite the cold and despite the fact that I had to run through puddles between two courts to see them all play, I was permanently smiling.  All three of my girls are great little players!  They have a natural sense of game-play and well disciplined ball skills.  I cheered.  I was proud.  They won their games and Violet was named player of the day.  More leaves.

And the comraderie among the parents on the sidelines was tremendously uplifting.  I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with friends, parents, and other teachers.  I realised the connections I've made in this community are extensive and worthwhile.  Not to mention the exclamations of "Hi Mrs. D!" that greeted me from all the children I have taught.  Hard to know which team to cheer actually, when green was playing yellow.  I knew all of the opposition better than I knew Madeline's team!  And their waves and smiles while I watched them all play...a wheelbarrow load of leaves.

Chatting and connecting with my new Canadian friend from Moose Jaw Saskatchewan (of all places!) about how cold her house is, renovations and the New Zealand obsession with a wash tub and separate toilet.  She said something about going out to New Plymouth with her gloves and toque and to myself I exclaimed, "she just said toque!"  How glad I am to meet someone who speaks the same language.  A few more leaves.

And as we were leaving the netball courts, Paul and our Sam arrived straight from their basketball game with shining faces, and I was high-fived and immediately regalled by the story of the game that was tied and the last second 3 point attempt by Brittany which WENT IN, and the hugs and the cheers and the tears that followed their first victory.  Seeing another parent from the game who told me, "I can see why your husband does what he does...coach extraordinaire" (he was filling in for their actual extra-extraordinaire coach, who had to be away)..."and I'm still shaking!"  A whole lot of leaves.

All Winners on the Day

Even long into the evening, the leaves kept falling on those bricks.  Our good friends came over and I enjoyed cuddles with their boys and watched lovingly as my kiddios engaged with them too, seeing in the children as well as the adults, our bonds go beyond friendship.   I had spent some of the day preparing a yummy meal, Italianesque, that was devoured and thoroughly appreciated by all.  Conversation was easy and beautiful and uplifting and inspiring and challenging all at once.  And no one watched the clock.  

Finally the leaves came to rest.  None of the heaviness could be felt or seen.  Its impact was gone, for a time at least.  I went to bed acknowledging and praising the goodness of my God that has given me so much...so much more than I deserve, and so much that reminds me of His intimate involvement in my life.  

He heard my prayers in the heaviness.  He said, "My heart hurts too.  I am doing something.  You don't know what it is yet, but I am doing something and I see your obedience.  Well done my good and faithful servant; I am blessing you."

The blessing of all those little leaves falling--the simple things--into one huge pile covering the heaviness.

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