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Passaic, NJ 07055
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leaf Lessons from Passaic

This morning in Passaic, it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, on November 15, it is 28 degrees outside.  The National Weather Service tells us that the record low for this day, set in 1996, was 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so we're not that far from the record.  There are two trees in the yard that have just this week turned from green to vivid, flaming yellow.  How enjoyable that transformation has been to watch!  However, due to the unseasonably low temperatures this morning, their leaves are dropping like snowflakes -- just hours after they reached their peak colors.  As I watch this happen, listen to the sound of the leaves breaking away and hitting the ground, and feel the leaves as they fall on me, I am struck by the detachment that is a natural part of creation.  That is, it is time for the leaves to fall, so they fall.  Anything else would be unnatural.

What do these trees teach me today?  That God is in charge, that it's OK to let go and that acting as if God were not in charge or that it's not OK to let go would be unnatural.  How appropriate these teachings are for our ministry at the Passaic Neighborhood Center for Women! 
  • God is in charge:  There is no way to sustain this ministry without the day-to-day, minute-to minute realization that, in doing this work, we are instruments of God.  We might weather unseasonable highs and lows, joys and sorrows, births and deaths, healing and illness -- and God is in all of it! 
  • It's OK to let go: As much as we want to enjoy the flaming yellow leaves a bit longer, we are reminded that God's ways are not our ways and God's time is not our time -- and thank God for that!  The only way that new growth can occur in spring is for leaves to fall in autumn.  Secure in the knowledge that it's OK, we let go of those things that hinder us from personal and communal growth -- the regrets, resentments, stubbornness and arrogance -- and we cling to the hope that new life will emerge from this detachment.
  • Acting otherwise would be unnatural:  There would be something very wrong with a tree that is meant to shed its leaves in the fall  failing to do so.  Similarly, attempting to play God or falsely convincing ourselves that attachment is healthy is counterproductive to growth.  We might wish that it were otherwise, but it just wouldn't be natural!
Today, friends, we thank you for sustaining us in this ministry.  We depend on your hours of service, your donations, your words of support and your prayers to do the work of God in Passaic.  In gratitude, we share these photos of our trees with you. Also, we encourage you to bundle up and go outside to enjoy this beautiful day.   (Email subscribers:  If you do not see the photos in your email, click here to view them.)

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