When October Comes…

October used to be my favorite month. It brings with it some gorgeous colors. The tree leaves change into the vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds…each leaf, each tree, unique in its own way. The collective beauty provides a breathtaking feast for our eyes.

And, then it happens and the leaves start to fall….one by one…and, then more quickly until all that is left is the beautiful and sophisticated architecture of the branches and the trunk….each tree with it’s own uniqueness and in all their glory, start to show us their vulnerable selves and their amazing strength and brokenness all at the same time.

It reminds me of how people are when they truly let others into their lives. We get to see their beautiful and sophisticated patterns of branches. I am fascinated by all their branches….the strong, sturdy ones and, yes, the broken ones as we each hold a broken branch or branches somewhere in our bodies waiting, longing for someone to  come in and help us bring it back to health or help us break away the broken part so that the branch can heal. We all need someone…a catalyst…those sturdy ‘trunks’ in our lives to help us heal our broken branches so they may continue to grow into strong and healthy ‘trees’.

Yes, October used to be my favorite month and then seven years ago on the 18th of October one of my catalysts left this world…..no longer placing her feet firmly on the ground. Her wise words and advice had been preparing me and us for this very minute. But, we didn’t listen because she had always been there to pick up the pieces. Life got really messy, really fast with no time to prepare. I used to love October until the ‘trunk’ for so many of us left….never to return…leaving us all to pick up our broken branches and move on.

We did so grudgingly. We did so by walking all over each other and all over our broken branches, trampling them until some became so broken they could no longer reach the point of healing. We did the exact opposite of what our ‘trunk’ had guided us and nurtured us to do. Little did I know then, but seven years later, we were to come full circle through a lot of messiness before we could see that WE had to become the ‘trunk’ for ourselves and for each other.

She was the ‘trunk’ that held all the branches close to the tree interwoven in a way no other could do. She asked us to be kind to one another, she asked of us to take care of each other, to help each other be happy, and instead, we broke our branches…her branches even more. Early on, she had singled out the really strong branches hoping to prepare us for all that was to come. But, we were stubborn and didn’t want the lessons we were to learn.

October used to be my favorite month….and then, all of the sudden, our ‘trunk’ was gone. She was the one we shared our vulnerability, our strength, and our brokenness with. She knew all of us best. She had that gift….our go to person that could help us heal our own bodies branches and also the branches of our own families. She was courageous, kind to a fault, and caring but, at her own expense. SHE was the gardener tending to and growing all her flowers but she forgot to let others be the gardener once in a while and tend to her and her broken branches. And, for that, she paid with the ultimate price….her life.

October used to be my favorite month and I am now finding that it still is as my broken branches have almost completely healed. I have learned lessons that will sustain me through life simply because of my gardener, my teacher, my sturdy ‘trunk’ in the family tree who took the time to help me with my broken branches. I have learned  from her and remind myself to keep my branches strong and to work daily to help heal any branches that are broken in myself and in others.

So that when October comes and the red, orange, yellow leaves begin to fall leaving the vulnerable, sophisticated, and beautiful branches in their wake to weather the harsh winters….the harsh realities of life, the harshness of others, the branches will come through more strong, more sturdy, more beautiful and full of life than they have ever been. They will become a strong, healthy and sophisticated pattern intertwined and sustained by their trunk.

And, isn’t that the purpose of life anyway? To grow, to serve, to be kind, to love and support, to help, and to be the ‘trunk’ and the gardener to others.

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