A Reflection on What Had Been
I was looking at the window in a hot daylight of November and I saw the trees with withered leaves. Some remain intact while the others fall due to the wind. Yet I know that there will come a time when all these leaves will fall and wither on the ground. It is weird that while I was watching the leaves fall from the tree, I suddenly remembered the words of Winnie the Pooh: “If there comes a time when I will not be with you, keep me in your heart and I’ll be there forever.”
People say that the rising sun is a symbol of new life, of hope and of a new beginning. But the trees tell us that in every renewal, in every beginning there has to be a fall. If every fallen leaf means a new sprout comes out and this cycle continues until such a time the tree dies. We have to leave the pains of the past behind, live the lessons of it in the present and move on for a better future. This is how we live our life. As the author Mitch Albom wrote: “Every ending is a beginning. We just don’t know it when…”
I am very much fascinated in seeing those withered leaves fall from the branches of the tree. Such amazing sight gives me the inspiration to turn my bitterness into sweetness. It makes me realize that though life is full of absurdities, we still have to go on. Life will still remain as it is anyway. The cycle of falling and rising is an inevitable and essential part of life. We learn through this cycle that not every time we are at the peak of the mountain. Sometimes we have to go down and discover other realities.
In my years in the seminary, I have discovered so much about myself. I am not as good as the other seminarians; I am not talented like them. And sometimes I feel pity for myself for being too dumb in the midst of intellectuals. I am like a falling leaf of the tree that deserves more kissing the ground rather that trying to hold on to the branches. But there is one thing that strengthened me, something that enlivened myself. Not all fallen are bad, rather sometimes the fallen ones becomes the better ones.
Well, one could only appreciate life once he experiences the difficulties of it. The fallen leaves means new beginning for the tree to sprout new leaves. That is what I have experience as I take the long journey of entering the seminary. I failed many times, and stumbled in so many moments. I have never been an achiever and only few people appreciate what I do. But it is in these times that I realized that I should be changing the life I have.
It is never too late. That is always what other people utter when one wants to change. Indeed, it is never too late for me to begin again. Let the fallen leaves decompose and let the new leaves healthily shoot from the branches of the tree. In life this could be interpreted as, let your past be in the past, let yourself live in the present moment.
Green is the color of new life and hope. And the color of the withered leaf is a symbol of our past. But although a leaf falls in the ground, we cannot deny the fact that it came from the tree. It is once a part of a tree. In other words, though we need to leave the past behind, it does not mean that we have to forget it. The past is still a part of life. As Alfred North Whitehead clearly points out: “We are a product of different actual occasions.” That is, our history, our past is still a part of us. We are only adding another chapter to it. And as Paul Ricoeur reminds us: “Man does not forget, he only ceases to remember.”
Learn to learn from what had been, make sense be part of what it is, and do not be afraid to face what will be.