Survive and Thrive

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

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We’ve had some crazy weather here in New England lately. There were near-freezing temps in the fall when it was meant to be mild, and record-breaking warmth this winter when it was supposed to be cold. It’s as if nature is confused and doesn’t know what to do.

Consequently, there’s a tree in my neighborhood that hasn’t fully lost its leaves. I remember way back in college when we had a freak snowstorm in early October. None of the trees had lost their leaves either. Snow piled up on the leaves causing tree after tree to fall down. They just couldn’t hold up under all that weight. I worry the same thing will happen to the tree on my street now.

It’s another reminder that loss is necessary in order to survive and thrive.

Things are changing in my household. My oldest son is off at college, and my other two kids might as well be – they’re so busy and never home. There are some days when I feel like I’m an empty nester even though they still live here.

It seems to have happened in a flash – one minute my house was full of kids, their friends, and all the racket that goes along with that. The next, it’s empty and as quiet as a tomb.

Yet, there’s new life too. I finally have peace and quiet to write, and pray, and tackle things I had to postpone when my kids were little and needed me more. And, as much as it breaks my heart that my kids are growing up and going their own way, they’re maturing and growing in ways that are necessary if they’re going to be responsible and functioning adults in society.

Life goes on. Nothing stays the same. Seasons change, and kids grow up. I can’t be that tree that refuses to drop its leaves and risk being toppled. I have to stop dwelling on what I’m losing and focus, instead, on the new life and opportunities that are flourishing all around me.

Questions for Reflection:

• Are things changing in my life and household?
• Can I focus on the good in that change rather than dwell on the loss?

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