When I was a boy, I loved autumn days when the leaves would fall and float gently down as I ran to catch as many as I could before they touched the ground. I loved to gather the fallen leaves in piles upon piles and jump into them with reckless abandon. I felt so alive and free. I would simply lie there in the leaves, at peace, and stare up at the immensity of the sky, surrounded by the relentless love and sacred beauty of the trees.
Maybe today I would call this childhood relentless love and beauty of the trees, nature, and the fall pure grace or gift, or simply sacred memory. I would say now too that I came to know then that love persists, that something bigger than me wants me to be free. This kairos moment, this memory remains with me. It comforts me somehow. It reminds me of Gandhi's relentless faith in the power of love, truth, and grace. He says,
When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always. - Gandhi
I also remember riding in a car with my family when I was a boy, maybe eleven or twelve. My parents were arguing as they often did, mostly about finances. I found myself in my mind's eye resting in the leaves, feeling relentlessly free; and then I found myself reminding my parents of the words of scripture read earlier that day at church:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27
As I grow older, I find that the grace and comfort of the leaves and the trees, as well as my parents' worry about finances and life's struggles, continue to invite resting in relentless love. When I find myself falling prey to fear or sadness, despair or worry, I call to mind Gandhi's truth, and love's relentless pursuit. I look deeply to see, with Thich Nhat Hanh, that we inter-be. We are connected. We are sisters and brothers. Thus, harm to you results in harm to me, harm to the leaves and trees results in harm to us moving together toward that which would set us free. I sit still, breathe in, breathe out, and relentlessly recite the mantra that love, that still small voice within, speaks to me:
Do not worry, do not be afraid, love is relentless, it is for love you are made.
How will you relentlessly love today? How will you allow yourself to be relentlessly loved?