Here in Southern Indiana we are seeing the fall colors now that the nights are colder. We are once again watching as the green leaves of spring and summer turn yellow, brown orange, gold and red. We are given a feast for the eyes.
I know from sophomore earth science that color is what is left after the cells that govern photosynthesis have died off. The color serves no practical purpose we know of. But I have a sense that the purpose is not practical but it is telling the story of the leaf and what it has gone through and endured. It is a final record and report of its life as a leaf.
I also believe that people are a lot like leaves. We do not really know the full story and maturity of a person until then end of their life. The body may be slow and impaired, the agility is less and other faculties are slowing down or gone. But there in the core of the person is an essence of who they are and what they have endured and overcome – the color of their life – that glows out from them in personality and other intangible ways.
We live more and more in a youth oriented culture – even as so many of us are aging. Youth and young people are great. But it is not until they have fully lived, loved, laughed and wept that the full depth of their character and humanity will be known and can be expressed. Perhaps this is why I have always enjoyed the company of elders. I can see in elders the colors of their life and have learned to read and appreciate the cost in their life in achieving them.
I see in the colors of fall the report of nature of the depth of good in life and living even in the midst of hardship and adversity. And I hope that my own “colors” will reveal a depth of wisdom, compassion, good humor and endurance. I wonder what your colors are and what will they reveal?