Leaves and living

Fall leave across the pond The trees in the area are in full color with the rich reds, vibrant yellow and muted brown hues. It is amazing to think that these colors were hidden by the green and are only seen at the last part of the life of the leaf. Even more difficult to comprehend is that the colors are the result of the amount of heat, of rainfall, of nutrients, and various other kinds of stressors and environmental factors the tree has endured in this full growing season of life. At the end of the life cycle the leaves display this beauty brought on by the effects its living.

Humans are much the same. Most of us know those wonderful, beautiful elders whose temperament, viewpoint and wisdom we cherish. They are those we want to be around, wish to be like, and wonder about the secret of their depth and beauty.

The truth is that just as trees’ stressors create the rich colors of fall leaves so too the human’s response to the stresses and uncertainties of life produce the attitude, outlook and wisdom we find so appealing. It is not something that can be imparted by knowledge, nothing that can be put on like a garment, nor can it be learned quickly. It is the slow and deliberate living out day by day, week by week, year by year of the deep spiritual values. There is no magic and no short cuts. It is the intentional choosing how to respond to each hurt, each joy, each opportunity, each moment.  And slowly over time the choice becomes more natural, and the attitude become habitual and the glow of the autumnal colors of human life begin to show.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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