If you block off every channel by which grace might come to your soul, I agree, like an autumn leaf or a dead branch, finally you will fall from the tree.
But God’s mercies are new every morning, rising like the sun. We Christians believe God came in the person of his Son with the aim of reconciling humanity and creation to himself for eternity. And he is kind and dogged in his pursuit of us.
What about those we feel have already gone, lost from us? It seems necessary to believe they’ve fallen into darkness, but it’s a darkness scented with mystery and kindness. One of my favourite bits of poetry anywhere is this:
“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy (Isaiah 60:4-5)
The children they thought were lost forever are carried back to them, all grow’d up. It is poetry. Still…