Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Leaf Told Me So…

Dr. George Washington Carver, 1861-1943, agricultural chemist and agronomist, is probably best known for discovering 300 new uses for the peanut and 150 new uses for the sweet potato. What is less known is exactly how he extracted all those new uses. Once, when asked how he had accomplished such a feat, he replied, “Here [his laboratory] is what I call God’s Little Workshop. No books are ever brought in here. What is the need of books? Here I talk to the peanut and the sweet potato and the clays of the hills and they talk back to me. Here great wonders are brought forth.” And, when asked how it was he could get the peanut or sweet potato to give up its secrets, he replied, “You have to love it enough. Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also – if you love them enough.” [From The Man Who Talks With the Flowers by Glenn Clark]

Recently, I bundled up to catch one of the season’s last slumbers in my hammock. I got to thinking about George Washington Carver as I gazed up at my familiar friends, the leaves. There they were, once again, just dancing above my head across that deep blue sky soaking up the sun’s rays. I thought about all the times I had reached up toward them, as if I could touch them with my fingers, yearning to join in their play. How I have loved those leaves.

So, I decided to try it out. What secrets might the leaves share with me today? Silently, I asked which leaf might be willing to be the spokesperson. It didn’t take long for one to emerge. As I held it in my gaze, I imagined it in my heart receiving all the love and gratitude I have long felt for its simple presence in my life. I am listening.

And, the following secrets were revealed…

We were born of the seed from Father Sun and nurtured in the womb of Mother Earth. When Father Sun illumines us, our differences are revealed which we all quite enjoy. You see, even though some of us may appear similar, there are actually no two of us alike. We are each unique like snowflakes in winter. We are fed each day from Mother Earth through the deep roots of our tree. We receive all we need. Sometimes our brother, wind, comes to play and blows through us. And, sometimes our sister rain comes to shower us with the water of life. From above and below, and from all around, we are nurtured and cared for.

We have a short life compared to you but, unlike you, we delight in our coming end. Why? Oh, because this is when we actually become the most extraordinary! Some of us will turn bright red, others golden and still others a deep orange. Some will delight in keeping their forever green. We never know how it will be. We just know it will be beautiful.

And, when it is time, we will gently let go of our branch and float down, back home, to Mother Earth. You see, she needs us to make good soil to grow new trees and to make more leaves like us. In this way, we get to be a part of, and live on through, all the leaves to come. Just like the veins that weave through each of us, we join the great web uniting all life. While you may fear death as a separation from life, we know that death unites us to all life.

Know, too, that we see you each time you come to play with us. And, together, we weave into the web of life all the love we enjoy.

And, all are blessed.

The leaf told me so…


Filed under Uncategorized

Right Action

It feels quite fortuitous to me. We have just celebrated the 50th year anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech and we now find ourselves as a nation forced to confront the fundamental question that the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so courageously yearned to answer: that is, how do we confront injustice, wrongdoing and evil without becoming unjust, wrongful and evil ourselves? How do we show up and act with clarity and compassion when wrongdoing appears on our doorstep instead of reacting with vengeance and retaliation to, sadly, become that which we would confront?

Make no mistake. Action is not a choice. Even inaction has its consequences. This is why Krishna in the beloved Bhagavad Gita does not coddle Arjuna when he sees him falter in the face of his duty to confront the injustice before him. Stand up scorcher of foes! This faintheartedness does not suit you! But, like us, Arjuna struggles with his inner enemies, doubts, fears and rationalizations and, as a result is, momentarily, unable to see clearly the path before him to right action.

Right action. Theologians and religious scholars have long debated the meaning of right action. It is hard to define yet, when we see it, we know it instantly by how it makes us feel. Instead of feeling the contraction of digging in, defending our point of view, acting against, we feel an expansion that provides both focus and freedom as we begin acting for.

Right action is able to transform actions of injustice to serve the common good of all. A good example was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declaring that Negroes would no longer agree to sit at the back of the bus. Averting the injustice would no longer be tolerated. Action was required. Yet, he warned against self-motivated righteousness. Instead, he preached tolerance and patience for his white brothers – even in the face of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four children. In the face of injustice, he chose right action, to stand for justice, compassion and equal treatment for all.

Today, it is we who are confronted with images of dead children among many innocent victims of ruthless violence and injustice. What will we do? How will we respond? What an important opportunity to examine just what right action might look like when such injustice strikes. I invite us to explore together: What can we do here, as a community, to help promote right action when injustice strikes our brothers and sisters around the world? How may our voices for right action be heard?

And, let’s remember that any act, no matter how small, affects the whole. Perhaps in exploring the question globally, we will also find that some of our answers begin right here at home, locally, in serving our own communities and neighbors.

We are not asking that the world be different. We are asking that, with right action, we be different. And, in being so, we create the possibility that our world could be different.

Let’s question together. Stand tall together…Join our voices in right action together…

So all God’s children…far and near…may know the meaning of…Let freedom ring!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized