I remember sitting by a river around this time last year. I watched leaves appear and float by in the slow moving current. They came and they were gone. They had grown over a season and fell from their life source. They had lived; they died; they were carried away.
A tree does not miss its leaves. Limbs do not feel less complete uncovered by fall. Neither the leaves nor the tree miss or mourn loss. When the leaf falls into the river, the river does not notice its presence. It has no awareness of anything around it.
As relational beings and as a part in the existence of mankind we do not detach from others like a leaf. Inherent in our essence and to our core, we are interpersonal beings. No man is an island unto himself.
In separation of any kind from the rest of what we had once been attached, we are missed. There is a void. The whole is less complete. We are missed and mourned; just as we grieve the loss.
Unlike nature, we are defined by relationships. If we were a tree, we would miss the leaf. If we were the leaf, we’d feel loss of a connection. If we were the river, we would find meaning in our place in the life and death of other things.
Fall doesn’t sense the coming of winter or see the hope of spring. But we, created with emotion and awareness, find hope in the coming of each new season.
In the end, we will be who we are as a result of our connection to and separation from all the relationships of our lives. It is there we find meaning.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3