Monday, October 27, 2003

Inner Beauty

The natural world surely has lots of lessons for me right now. As I was driving yesterday, I just felt swept up in the beauty of the fall colors. It seems to be an unusually beautiful fall here in Indiana, but then I may say that every year. My breath is just taken away by the vibrant oranges, the gold and yellow, the shocking red, mixed in with the continual carpet of green, touched with brown. I don't have to push my imagination much to see God with a palette the size of Texas, lovingly painting fall colors from one end of the country to the other.

But yesterday I had a new thought. I let my mind play with cycles--cycles of newness, of growth, of maturity, of fading, of passing into something new. I thought of our lives, born as perfect infants, growing and gaining physical and emotional control, learning and changing and building, reaching a sense of mastery in our work/lives/selves/relationships, the eventual fading of our strength as we watch others begin to bloom around us, and finally a passing into a realm that is new to us, leaving this season for another to grow into.

I wondered about the colors and how they intersect with us in our lives. In the beginning of springtime, when leaves are born, they arrive as buds and spread into leaves. Some trees flower; some trees cover themselves in leaves--most are some shade of green at the beginning. There is diversity among the young leaves, but it's minimal compared to what happens late in the cycle. Then those young beautiful leaves and flowers do something miraculous by drawing on some inherent natural ability none of us knew about--they change before our eyes into red, orange, yellow, gold--who knew they had such beauty in them all along? And although a single bright fall tree can raise our eyebrows and lift our spirits, a whole forest of them--along a highway, across a hill, behind a school--tells us something of Divine mastery, the perfect sacredness of timing, and cycles, and hope. A whole generation of trees turns beautiful in its aging, showing inner gifts in unique and amazing ways. Don't we do the same thing? As we grow and mature, aren't we also more able to show our own innate, natural gifts in a way that is free of the social pressures to be just like everybody else? And doesn't it make us, as a generation, that much more beautiful when others still coming along see us growing into our own abilities and sharing naturally what we've been given?

What color are you today? I'm feeling a bit orange. And grateful, too. :) k

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