The Last Leaf: An Invitation to Reality

Spring rain is falling this early Monday morning. The recycling truck clangs and snorts as it hauls away our former possessions. Later today, we'll memorialize those who've passed away in service to our country. For those still honoring the order to stay home, we'll forgo our long-awaited camping trips and big parties to ring in the first unofficial day of summer.

I stretch my achy body. Sore muscles tell a story of moving heavy boxes over the weekend. Of lifting furniture alone when I could have asked for help. My body tells the story of a heart struggling to be still and rest. If I get still for too long, I'll have to feel the pain.

The pain of having to say goodbye to hundreds of people I love without so much as a hug.

The pain of ending one of my favorite seasons of life with a whimper instead of a celebration.

The pain of watching a country divide, once again, into opposing camps, on every issue imaginable.

The pain of watching how this country treats people of color, women, the poor, and anyone deemed as inferior.

The pain of lives lost because some think their right to gather comes before the care of the most vulnerable among them.

The pain of canceled plans, canceled lives, and canceled joy.

For days or even a week at a time, I find the good in my own little world. I cling to it with the determination of the last leaf on the tree. Afraid a strong wind will rip it away. Then a strong wind sweeps through and the good I'm clinging to falls to the ground.

What am I left with?

I'm left with reality. Unvarnished, difficult, and awkward stories about what's really happening. Most days, I'd rather cling to my small world where I can pretend everything is okay. I don't want to do that today. We are loved by a Creator who doesn't coldly observe our difficult realities from an unfeeling distance. No. Love delights in sitting next to us on the floor as we show up to what's really going on.

Today, we offer our realities to the One who knows us deeper than we'd like to admit.

O Great Creator, do not keep silence;

do not withhold your peace or be still, O Giver of Life!

For fear is rampant in the world;

those who rule by oppression rise up with power.

They lay deceptive plans against the people;

they consult together against freedom and justice.

Clothe us in the dress of your peace,

and the stronghold of your mercy,

that we might bear the power of Love;

Let us walk in shoes of integrity,

and don the mantle of truth.

Let us shed the tatters of envy and fear,

the rags of anger and greed,

And say, "We shall seek only the Truth, which will set us free!"

Psalm 83 excerpt by Nan C. Merrill from "Psalms For Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness"

Friends, bring it all. Name it. Grieve it. Get angry about it. Don't look away.

May we do the work of peace and bear the power of love in this world. We're in this together.

Amen and amen.