Zion Calendar

Thursday, 28 November 2013

General Secretary's Weekly Letter

November 27, 2013

Dear friends,

This past weekend, we had our first snowfall of the season in Toronto. Earlier in the week, I and others in our part of the city were still raking leaves. There are a couple of maples in our yard that are always the last to lose their leaves.

The street behind our office building is lined with mid-sized ginkgo trees. This ancient tree grows naturally in China, but does well in our area, too, and is known to be tough enough to withstand the pollution of an urban environment. I liked the pattern of the triangle-shaped yellow leaves that had fallen to the ground, so I took a picture of them a couple of weeks ago that I’m using as the background picture on my BlackBerry right now.

As I walked home from work later that week, I noticed two women on the ground beneath the same row of ginkgos, eagerly gathering up the fleshy nuts that had fallen to the ground. I was curious about how they were going to use them, whether for food or medicine, but when I inquired it turned out we had a language barrier so we exchanged smiles and I carried on home, leaving them at their work.

A week later on my route home, I observed a crew of workers from either the city or the nearby apartment building, busy cleaning up the mess that littered the ground beneath the trees. They had a noisy leaf-blowing machine and were blowing all the leaves to one place where they packed them into bags for the city’s yard-waste composting program. They were getting everything tidied up before winter.

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” is a common phrase that captures some of the complexity of humanity.

While part of me appreciates those who work to keep our neighbourhood tidy, I found myself rejoicing at seeing someone finding value in something that others considered to be refuse. Through this small incident, I was reminded of the treasures, both noticed and unnoticed, that God has given us.