Saturday, May 21, 2022

Encouragement For the Overwhelmed

This morning before school, while I was doing my daily attempt to keep my body moving on the exercise bike, I was doing my typical scroll through Facebook. I ran across the following post from The Hands Free Revolution FB page, written by Rachel Macy Stafford. The title alone grabbed me. "Overwhelm" is certainly a feeling I had been feeling lately, especially here in the last weeks of school (all teachers will know what that means and feels like) and as I am mentally approaching an upcoming surgery. The surgery is one I know I need and I know it will give me great relief from some pain I'm encountering, but it's scary and overwhelming and worrisome, especially through recovery. 

But this post caused me to take pause and it gave me a new mantra: One leaf at a time. It gave me a chance to really breathe, and take note of my mom's text last night to just keep breathing. Always easy advice for me to give and far easier for me to forget to tell myself. Thank you Rachel Macy Stafford for reminding me (and all of us) during this very busy season. And thank you for inspiring me to take my own "one leaf" photo.


I had to do something excruciatingly difficult last week.

And because this ordeal also impacted my family, I had to help my kids through it. 
Three Days Before
The Day Of
And Three Days After
Every ounce of energy in my body and soul were swallowed up to tend to this task. 
This morning,
Five Days After the Hardest Day,
I faced All the Stuff That Piled Up while I tended to What Mattered.

Somehow the tasks and demands I’d set aside had grown like out-of-control weeds.

When I grasped just how dense the overgrowth was in front of me today, I couldn’t breathe.

Then, I remembered the leaf. 

The Day After the hardest day, I took a walk and came across this tiny, perfect leaf.

Its vibrant green hue indicated this leaf had fallen far before its time.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, because nature is worthy of loving regard, just like humans.

I looked around—not another leaf in sight.

Just this one,
like it was there for a reason,
like it was trying to tell me something.

I got up close to listen, but my busy brain kept going back to The Difficult Thing.

I decided to take this picture, hoping the message would come eventually.

Today was that day.

As I faced the Unruly Mound of Demands and Deadlines, I heard what I needed to hear: 
“One leaf at a time, dear one.”

That’s what the little green leaf, who fell off a tree before its time, wanted me to know.

It’s like the leaf knew…
I got a girl graduating.
I got a book deadline looming.
I got a hole in my heart that I wasn’t expecting.

"One leaf at a time.”

It’s been months since I’ve heard anything that makes so much sense.

In this particular season, I must take my eyes off the big, scary tree.

I must focus on one leaf
one breath
one step
At a time.

That is how I will make it to the other side

and not miss the beauty along the way.

© Rachel Macy Stafford 2022

Reposted from; Image from my camera.

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