Change happens in life. Without exception it affects everything under the sun. The passing of each season brings changes. Nothing remains the same. Even us, we become part of the changing process around us.
Years back I was on retreat and I was preparing to move to my new assignment. I must admit it disheartened me to think that I was leaving. I believe God talks to us in many different ways. It can be through symbols, an inspiration or through the beauty of nature. During one of my reflections, my attention was drawn to the autumn tree by the window. Autumn is the season I like best. The sight of changing colours extremely fascinates me. I take delight walking on dry leaves and listening to the crispy sound, like music of praise being played to God. What a marvellous feeling!
My admiration was turned into prayer as I mused and watched the autumn tree. I wondered at how human feelings could be similar to that of the tree, how it feels as the green leaves turn into yellow, red, brown and then fall onto the ground, until nothing is left on the tree. With this insight I was reminded that our life as religious also involves moving from one place to another. It is never easy to leave the familiar to venture to the unknown. Much like the leaves falling off the tree and blown everywhere. Detachment becomes an issue if not properly motivated. But I realised that the leaves freely detach from the tree and go wherever the wind carries them.
What happens to the tree in autumn could be likened to the process of transition. The autumn leaves fall and wither so as to allow new life to spring up. Transition involves life, death and resurrection. There’s a need to undergo the pain of letting go to experience the joy of a new beginning. Holding on to something will deprive oneself of growth. Attachment to things we cherish most will cut off the life that wants to emerge. To let go is to give the opportunity to be open to what the future holds for us. In wintertime, the autumn tree appears lifeless so that in springtime it can bloom and become alive again. We need to be released from what keeps us from exploring new possibilities. This is true for our life – sometimes we need change so that one can become fully alive.
Sr Yolanda Nava, FDZ