Autumn leaves

Harvesting and Letting Go

Fall is both a time of harvesting and of letting go. I’ve harvested some delicious veggies recently. This is the time when the hot weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and egg plants are thriving and what a delicious harvest.  At the same time, one sees the trees cutting their losses and letting their leaves go early because of the extremely dry and hot weather.  No beautiful reds and brilliant oranges just browns and dull yellows, the leaves curled up as they fall to the ground.  Not to mention the torrent of seeds that the trees are letting go- beware of a falling black walnut on your head if you choose to walk in a forest!  Yet these fallen leaves will turn into wonderful mulch and compost and the seeds will germinate new life when the rain returns.  In nature letting go helps generate new life.

I take this lesson from nature to heart as I think back over this past year, I remember my own letting go of living in a wonderful community of sisters and a friendly neighborhood, interacting daily with the sisters in my motherhouse, and having established a network of supportive friends and co-workers. I had done a lot in seven years including ministries where I was making a difference, education and campus ministry.

Letting go is not easy, and prayer is what makes the letting go possible. My letting go allowed me to be open to finding a ministry that I am passionate about at the Eco-Justice Center. I have harvested from my experiences in education and my Masters of earth literacy to assist me in my new ministry.  While it has taken time to create new friendships and become comfortable with my day to day ministry, my established relationships have stood the test of distance and some have even strengthened especially my SCL community and Giving Voice ones.

While my letting go is not in the same category as the letting go that I see in our sisters as health issues begin to limit their active ministries, their honesty and struggle shows how difficult it is to let go. Yet it is their prayer and God’s grace that allows them to transform the difficulty into a new way of life that is different but may allow them to spend more time in prayer and strengthening personal relationships. I pray that I learn from nature’s example and my sisters’ examples of how to transform letting go into generating new life.

Sister Rejane Cytacki, member of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL), is the executive director of the Racine Dominican’s Eco-Justice Center in Racine, Wisconsin. She holds a master’s degree in earth literacy and has been an environmental educator for more than 10 years. Sister Cytacki also serves on the Giving Voice Core Leadership Team.