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mapleThis morning I look out at our beautiful maple tree framed by my bedroom window and see that she is totally stripped of all her leaves, a sure sign of movement toward winter. The color that caught the sun for such a short span was magnificent and I am sad that it is gone so quickly, yet the remainder – the starkness of naked branches – has its own beauty. The tree, so tall and straight, offers me a vivid image of praise – every branch reaching upward, high into the sky toward God. No downward turn anywhere meets my eye as I scan upward from the ground. Even the smallest branches all lift and witness to the willingness of the whole tree to give itself over to praise in what seems a death but is only change.

I found a reflection from Meg Wheatley’s book Perseverance this morning that reminded me of the adage, “Change is the only constant.” She speaks of the Chinese yin/yang symbol as “the dance of opposition that creates wholeness, the dance that never ends.” Here is more of what she says, ending with a question that I think will keep me going when I am tired and wondering when a new spring will come or when I will experience the beauty of what will seem an endless winter:

One state gives birth to another. Whichever state is here at this moment, we can be sure that what’s coming next will be its opposite…At first, the new birth is just a sliver, a new moon glimmer of the future. But the dominant will now begin to wane and the new will grow. Eventually, it too will become the overbearing present and it too will give birth to the next newness. In this way, life’s ceaseless dynamic of change offers hope and caution simultaneously. Everything changes. Good times don’t last forever. And neither do bad ones. Whatever is happening now, good or bad, is giving birth to the next state, which will be its opposite. Does knowledge of this dance help us persevere? (p. 49)

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