There is a sea of leaves on the ground right now. Autumn is the landscape and the colors are nothing short of glorious. A short walk can avail a sea of leaves so vast counting them would be almost impossible.
Yet, while walking do you simply notice a single, a cluster, or an imprint of a leaf that catches your eye? Is it the color, the shape, or possibly the position as it dangles from a spider’s web and dances with the blowing breeze?
I am always mystified how one leaf can jump out from thousands scattered on a path. Feet crunching the leaves, my eyes trained to look for the extraordinary: the stand out. And then I see it. “That one!”
If we were to try and notice, to capture in appreciation, or to photo, sketch, or sculpt what our eyes see, we would be insane.
The other day after a hike while pondering the leaves in this manner, I saw a young man at the entrance of a fast food drive through. Eugene has a large population of homeless people, a devastating drug issue, and loose laws regarding panhandling. Driving or walking anywhere we have ample opportunities to discern how and when to help out or engage.
To give to some people is doing nothing more than buying them their next needle or bottle. Yet everyone deserves compassion. The problem is, as I had read a mom of an addict state, “Giving my daughter money may be her death. Don’t do it!”
The young man I saw caught my attention, the way one leaf out of many might stop me. I parked and walked over towards him, “Are you hungry,” I asked. He shook his head affirmatively.
Thinking like a mom, a grandma, I suggested comfort food. “Would you like biscuits and gravy?” He nodded yes. “Do you drink coffee,” I asked, since it was cold and drizzly outside.
I got his meal, found the only cash I had (five bucks), and a couple of other things and filled his bag, handing him his coffee. Our eyes connected. I hoped he could receive respect and compassion from me, as well as his meal. I said, in earnest, but gentle, “God bless you.” I meant it. “God, please bless this one you put in front of me and on my heart.”
My mind went straight back to the leaves covering the ground from the path I was just on. In photography there is always the quest for the stand out subject, light, and composition. I saw that with this young man. He was in the light of my attention.
Can we trust ourselves and God to look for the people, the projects, the things He wants us to do? I believe so.
A compassionate, empathetic heart or a go-getter personality can get stuck on seeing the sea of humanity, wanting to help, but being overwhelmed by the magnitude of needs. Partnering with God and noticing what is illuminated in front of us can give us peace and a knowing that we are where we are meant to be. God can use timing and our geographical placements to accomplish things for others and cultivate our hearts…as well as to get great photos!
Which leaf stands out in the mix?
Who is coming to mind as a standout today? Someone you know may need an encouragement, a bouquet of flowers, a listening ear, or a stranger may need an act of respect or compassion.
Watch for “that one!“