One Leaf

By Cassidy Hall

Here we are, beloveds. We’re making it through the final month of 2020. The year of  chaos and discourse that left us wounded, grieving, lost, amiss. The year when time went too fast and too slow all at once. The year of deeper collective awakening to the injustices around and within us.

But, we made it.

We’re making it.


While on a walk around the park today, I stopped to pause and gaze at a leaf. One leaf. A singular friend hanging on, despite the arrival of winter, despite the pain  of 2020, despite it all. This leaf reminded me that mourning, grieving, and letting go is difficult for all of us—the trees, too. But this leaf also reminded me that sometimes our staying and our hanging on is an act of courage, an assertion in remaining, an allegiance to steadiness amid the turmoil.

In 1967-68, an artist and nun named Corita Kent made a list of 10 rules for her art department. The list opened with “Rule 1: Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.” And by our very remaining, I wonder if that’s precisely what we’re doing. Our very staying to see 2020 through and withstand its tumultuous weather is an act of courageous trust.

I celebrate your resilience.

I bow to your persistence.

I honor your strength.

Wherever you are at the end of this year, maybe you need to stay, maybe you need to let go, but I urge you to carry forth the resilience you have proven. I ask that you remember the grief you have waded and the awakenings you have come to know.

We are undoubtedly bound together by all that has transpired this year. Our connectedness has revealed itself in new and astonishing ways. I now know all the more deeply that my actions are bound up in our communal well-being. I now understand all the more clearly that your woundedness is carried in my tears, and mine in yours.

And, this leaf. This singular commonality of holding on in the midst of letting go presents differently in each of us. But at the same time, it also binds us together in that place of hidden unity, mysterious rootedness, ineffable silence.

We not only belong to each other, but in the deepest place, in the crux of the imago dei, we are each other.

As we go into 2021,

I carry you, I bow to you, I honor you.

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Cassidy Hall (MA) is an author, filmmaker, podcaster, student, and holds a MA in Counseling. She works as a Teaching Assistant at Christian Theological Seminary where she is studying for her MDiv and MTS degrees. She also serves as Student Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ. Since 2017, Cassidy has been the Secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society. Cassidy worked on the production team of the documentary feature film In Pursuit of Silence and her directorial debut short-film, Day of a Stranger paints an intimate portrait of Thomas Merton’s hermitage years. Her podcast, Encountering Silence features interviews with contemplatives, modern-day mystics, and explores the ambiguity of silence in our modern-day lives. Cassidy’s work centers around the tension and intersection of silence and social action and contemplation in a world of action.

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