Sometimes, in the Fall, I think I hear the flowers, plants, and trees sighing…for many the end is near and most are ready for it. It is time to rest for the winter and prepare for the spring when life starts over again.
There is one little special story I have told before in the blog, because it is one of my “Fall Favorites” having stuck with me for many years. It was first told as a children’s story about Fall and changing, falling leaves…but the adult version was more about the importance of “letting go” and giving God the reins in this life and the next. A Fall hasn’t passed since hearing the story that I don’t remember the day I first heard it. Enjoy!
One day, as I was walking by a second grade classroom in a school where I had been doing some teacher evaluations (when I worked at the district office, heading up the Social Studies program) I heard the children excitedly calling for their teacher to come see their “Abigail” leaf. My curiosity was hooked. What was an “Abigail” leaf I wondered.
So I stepped inside, smiled at the teacher as she was scurrying from one student to the next with their excited hands extended into the air wanting to show her their leaves they had brought from home… and for others… colored leaves they were making from construction paper.
“I wanted to come in and find out what an “Abigail” leaf is” I told the teacher with a wink…you caught my curiosity! The teacher called on one little boy, who was wildly waving his hand in excitement, “It is a leaf that doesn’t want to let go in the Fall because it is scared of being all alone,” the child said proudly.
The teacher then asked the class if it was okay to tell the story again for “our guest” (me) so I could hear it too. They all nodded and said “Yes” excitedly!
As the teacher began the story… the only sound you could hear was scissors cutting paper, leaves from home fluttering from the desks, and glue being squeezed from tubes. A large bare-branched tree had been made and placed on the front bulletin board…it appeared to be waiting on the children’s leaves to join it.
“The name of our story today, children, is “Abigail, the Anxious Leaf.” Suddenly all the activity stopped as the children waited expectantly for the story to begin.
…Once upon a time a little leaf name Abigail was heard to sigh and cry, as leaves often do when a gentle wind blows. And the twig asked, “What is the matter Abigail?” And Abigail replied, “The wind just told me that one day it will pull me right off this tree and throw me down on the ground where I will be left all alone…tattered and torn.”
The twig told the branch on which it grew and then the branch told the tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent back word to the little leaf “Do not be afraid. Hold on tightly, and you shall not go until you are ready… and then you will willingly let go.”
Abigail was still a little “anxious”so she held on tightly whenever the wind blew and she grew stronger with time…to the point that she thought nothing could ever pull her off. And so it went all summer long…until October.
And when the bright days of autumn came Abigail saw all the leaves around her becoming very beautiful. Some were yellow, some scarlet, and some striped with both colors.
She then sent word through her friend Twig, to his friend Branch, to the Tree that she wondered what was happening to the leaves with all the bright colors. Tree sent her a message:
“All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, and they have put on these beautiful colors because of the joy they feel about their upcoming new adventure.”
Slowly Abigail began to realize that she didn’t want to be the only dull-colored leaf left all by herself on the barren tree…she wanted to be pretty and joyful too…so she began to grow more beautiful each day because of the way she now thought about things…about letting go. There was a special aura around her and she shone like gold.
One morning as she looked down, the fallen leaves looked so beautiful around the tree that she leaned farther out as a strong wind suddenly blew. Without even realizing what she was doing she freely let go of the branch.
Suddenly she began whirling and twirling like a spark of fire in the air…until she was gently placed among her friends in a pile of leaves at the edge of a fence. Everyone was so happy to be back together at last. Abigail tingled with joy and with the warmth of so much love …more than she had ever felt before.
Sometimes letting go, she realized, is the best thing that can happen to an anxious leaf...a whole new world of possibilities awaited her and she happily began to play with her new friends.
The teacher then asked the children what they thought the lesson in the story was all about. A little girl, with long pigtails, replied:” “Sometimes letting go of what you know is the way to make new friends and see new places.”
I smiled, waved good-bye to the teacher with a thumbs-up signal and another wink to her as some of the children began gluing their leaves to the tree branches while others glued their leaf falling to the ground.
So until tomorrow: What a wonderful story, what a wonderful lesson for a seven-year- old or a seventy-year-old. When we let go in life don’t we also reap the benefits of new possibilities in our lives here on Earth… and the next?
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
The doorbell rang yesterday afternoon and there was a package from Honey…a birthday package using all her God-given talents/pottery to bring Fall indoors for me. Thank you so much Honey…the definition of the word generous!
Earlier I met Anne for lunch at Oscars and she treated me out for my birthday and gave me a card with a package of giant daffodil seeds in it….saying there were more where that package came from…Just think about the location you want (she said) and she will come plant them…Daffodils and rebirth…the perfect flower to remember this birthday! …And the seeds didn’t come alone… a little rabbit arrived inside the card too…one that you will see hiding all around the garden in the days ahead. Too creative Anne!! Love it.
*Three Weeks from tomorrow, October 15, “Legally Pink” will be walking/running/skipping/hopping our way through the race. I want to take a moment from these past three crazy weeks to stop and thank so many of you who have already donated to our team. I want this race to be our best yet….and I want to give it my all! I hope many of you can do the same. I am just plain sick of cancer and its uninvited, over-stayed lack of manners. Be gone!
In 2013 Rutledge made his first appearance at the Race for the Cure!
***RACE FOR THE CURE – Saturday, 10/15/16. Gates open at 7:00. Participate in a morning filled with hope, love and strength as we lace up to run breast cancer out of town!
To mail in a donation, please make checks payable to:
Susan G. Komen® Lowcountry
50 Folly Road Blvd. | Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: (843) 556-8011