The Sign of the Leaf

One week ago today, I underwent my 3rd spinal fusion surgery.   I posted a blog that day, Removing the Obstacles to Healing , in which I mentioned that most of my posts for the next several weeks were written and put in a queue weeks ago.  I did this, of course, because I didn’t know how surgery would turn out, so didn’t know when I might be able to write a new post.

This post is “live” if you will, I’m writing it on the day I post it.  Surgery went well and the doctors do seem to have corrected all the places in the spine where the nerves were being pinched.  The MRI showed my back was not a pretty picture.  Now with the fusion, it may not be pretty (certainly it’s not normal) but the pressure and pain have been relieved, thanks be to God who has given us such wonderful knowledge and technology and wisdom to be able to relieve this pain.  God has given to us the ability to remove the obstacles to His healing us.  True synergy between us and God.

Healing is also a very slow process for this surgery.  I have many activity limits and significant muscle pain and surgery discomfort.   My body is reminding me constantly that “over-doing” it is way below what used to be normal.   I recognize that my brain is very much in slow motion.  I like to do electronic Sudoku puzzles and I can see how slow I am in addition to how many mistakes I make.  It is taking me five times longer to write this post than it used to.

I did make it onto my driveway yesterday for a very short walk.  Something immediately caught my eye – it was the unusual colors.

A leaf is something I’ve ignored millions of times in my life. This one stood out as a very attractive sign of nature.  It tells me it is autumn, seasons change, nothing lasts forever, each season has its own glory.

Leaves in the spring mean new life, in the summer cooling shade, the brilliance of autumn, and all winter long leaves are helping keep life covered and becomes part of the cycle of new birth.  The one leaf also is a symbol of the small part I play in the world.  My reality has shrunk quite a bit.

In Scripture, I note two other signs which we can read from the leaf.

All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree.   (Isaiah 34:4)

The leaf certainly speaks about impermanence and change.  Whatever its glories, a leaf lasts but a year.  It is only in the renewed creation of God’s final kingdom that the leaf takes on new meaning.  Finally in the heavenly realms the leaf gives up its short-lived trait and becomes healing for all.

And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”  (Ezekiel 47:12)