When Life's Slipping Away

Our paths cross unexpectedly on a sunny Autumn day in the middle of an arboretum.  He's a friend from the past, his family in tow, and I'm just this beauty-hungry woman with a camera cradled in her hands.  We're all here wandering through the woods to see the trees dressed in glory, afternoon sun glinting off every leaf.

We chat for a while and I join them in their happy explorations, but there's one thing he says that catches me and I can't forget.

These leaves, he says, are really dying.  And we're here gazing at the beauty, but shouldn't we be mourning instead?

He's right and he's wrong all at the same time, and me, I'm searching for words to answer his seeking.  But he's the one with the glass half empty and he can't let in the glory of the moment because he knows too well that life's full of pain and there's dying even in the living.  There's nothing I can say to loosen his grip on all the heartache he's seen, so I let him go.  But his words, they follow me long after we part ways.

It's three years later and I still haven't forgotten.  Every time the leaves whisper of Autumn's coming, I think of him and wish I could've said then what I'd tell him now.

Because these three years, they've been full of all the grieving and the healing, the breaking and the mending, and I've seen the way God works in the middle of our darkest years.  And it doesn't take me by surprise to see so much beauty in the dying of the leaves.  No, that's just the thing I've come to expect from the One Who shatters who we are in order to make us into who we're meant to be.

I watch the leaves change color and I'm so taken with all the beauty that I don't notice that life's slipping away, creeping back down into the darkness, hiding from all the heartache of a winter.  But that's just it.  There's no dying here, really, only life finding protection from the things it cannot bear.  And there's hope in the falling leaves because it's clear that life's found a way to hold on until spring.

And what better way to celebrate hope than with all these colors raining down?

I see it now, the way He does the same for me.  Pieces of a life, they fall away and I'm too busy with the aching and the mourning to see that there's no dying here, only life finding protection from the things it cannot bear.  Because God knows when the heartache's coming and He'll never leave me unprepared.  I won't see it coming and I might think I've been left out in the cold, but why do I forget that He's known all along, that He's been drawing my deepest places into Himself, back down into the womb of His refining, shielding the sacred pieces of who I am?

It might take months, even years for me to find a way back into Spring's light, hold the pieces out for His mending of a soul.  But there's always that day at the end of the grieving when I realize He's held me through all the loss and He's protected me even when I felt ripped open, shattered through.

And oh, there's beauty in all of it because He's in all of it.

I might wish I understood the workings of a God Who loves too much not to break us open for His Glory, but maybe knowing I am loved is better than understanding could ever be.  I'll still mourn the losses of a life but I'm looking for beauty in them now, looking for Him in all the heartache of a life.  And maybe it shouldn't still leave me breathless when I find Him there, but it does and I am and, oh, I'll never get enough of this beauty in all the broken places.

Maybe I'll find this friend from the past again someday, and when I do, I'll tell him that there's hope raining down in the Autumn leaves, that there's God raining down.  And yes, there's pain and there's heartache and there's oh-so-much loss in these days of our living.  But God, He's working it all out in Love and we only have to look for Him if we want to see Him here.

So open up your hands, I'd say, and let in the beauty and the glory and the God in this moment.  And know that you are loved by the Greatest Lover of All.  Because isn't that enough to change everything?

Yes, it's enough to change everything.

It already has.


  1. "there's no dying here, only life finding protection from the things it cannot bear" - wonderful thought! it's hard for me to trust His knowledge of the hurt around the corner, too. lovely piece. thanks for sharing this.

  2. This post made me mist up. So good....mamagriffith

  3. @tinuviel: Thank you for sharing your heart here...this trusting in His knowledge of the hurt is something I have been learning through a whole lot of life. And though it's a hard thing to embrace, it brings a kind of hope and beauty into this life that I didn't expect. Praying He'll show you His true heart for you no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.

  4. @Anonymous: Thank you, MamaGriffith. As a real-life friend and a fellow writer, your words always mean a great deal to me.

  5. astounding again how Everything points back to Him who everything is made by and through and for...

  6. @Rachel Schober: Sometimes I feel as though I am writing the same things over and over again, but that's just it--everything really does lead back to Him. Thank you for reading, dear one.

  7. Wow, beautiful again, you should write a book, you will help so many broken people like me that aren't willing to stay broken, people that try to understand that "He shatters who we are to make us into what we're meant to be", yes, a hard thing to go through but, the brokenness makes grow, a wonderful gift from the Potter! An opportunity to grow in Him and display his glory. Can I request a prayer for my parents we just lost my beautiful sister and I can't imaging anything harder for a parent than to loose a daughter. At the same time my husband left me for another woman 2 weeks before having our baby girl. I guess it is just bad timing for this terrible shatter but, He is the one in control and I am determine to allow Him to make me grow through all this. I truly appreciate your prayers for my entire family Thank you again for your beautiful writing

  8. @Anonymous: I am so sorry to hear of your family's losses. Such heavy burdens to bear for all of you. Of course I will say a prayer for you and for your parents. Thank you for sharing your story. It is beautiful to see your desire to grow in the midst of such painful circumstances. This growth, it really is a gift from God, even when it's the breaking that must come first. May God comfort you and give you courage and perseverance to become the woman He desires you to be. Grace to you, Friend.


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