Venerable Vibrance

It’s autumn, and the leaves have reached their brightest season!

I captured a few bright fall leaf shots last weekend, and got to pondering leaf life.

Just like us, deciduous leaves have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Autumn trees across a pond
Look at all those colors!!

Seasons of Leaf Life

Sunlight in blue sky through spring tree branches

Each spring we appreciate all of the green popping out as baby leaves begin to clothe the naked trees.

Throughout the summer the different shades of green are lovely, it’s true, but their beauty fades from our attention. They quickly become something that just is.

Closeup of green leaves in the sunshine

And then autumn arrives, slowly spreading bright reds, oranges, and yellows from one tree to another, and we take notice!

The leaves have arrived at the end of their lives, once again capturing our attention. Their most vibrant time of life comes at the close, like the finale of a fireworks show.

How like our own temporary existence is that?

Seasons of Our Lives

Sunlight in blue sky through spring tree branches

Babies get all the attention. Seriously, who doesn’t love tiny baby toes??

But at some point, we grow up and folks stop paying as much attention to us. We become teens, then adults, then perhaps even leaders of our own families. People really don’t ooh and aah over every milestone we break through anymore.

Closeup of green leaves in the sunshine

If our time on earth stretches on, we reach the “golden years,” but I don’t think that means we’re supposed to get all crunchy with everyone else!

I believe the golden years are an opportunity to let our faith shine out greater and brighter than it ever could have in our younger years.

Red maple leaves against a bright blue sky

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 NIV

Take a minute to think about someone you admire who is in their later years (someone who’s had more birthdays than you, that is!). What about them captures your attention?

A few saints I have had the honor of knowing have these qualities:

  • A peaceful presence
  • Steadfastness in the midst of chaotic circumstances
  • Patience with others
  • Faith in God’s care

Their spiritual wisdom and life experience of watching God move, heal, provide, and care for them brings a quiet depth that speaks loudly without making a sound.

Fear and anxiety are far from their first response to just about anything that arises. Joy is easier to find, regardless of how many possessions they have.

“I want it NOW!”

We gaze on those saints who have traveled this road before us, wishing we could be more like them today instead of waiting for our own golden years. We’re tired of this seemingly endless green summertime of the in-between! We’re not babies anymore, but neither do we have it all together.

In spite of our wishing, there is wisdom that can only be learned firsthand:

  • We can’t learn the limitless faithfulness of God without being taken beyond our own limits.
  • We can’t learn the bottomless ocean of God’s love without experiencing a sea of rejection by those we trusted.
  • We can’t live in fearless, trust-filled joy until we’ve lost all this world has to offer us.
  • We can’t learn to live patiently with ourselves and others until we’ve experienced the depth of our own failures and shortcomings repeatedly washed away in Christ’s endless sea of forgiveness.

Think again about that person you think highly of. What admirable qualities did you come up with? Now consider what God walked through with them earlier in life to get them to where they are now. Are you willing to go through similar experiences?

There is a price to pay for wisdom. Part of that cost is counted in years, part is counted in life experiences, and part is counted in obedience to God.

May we live our lives with the end in mind, growing in true wisdom along the way, guided by his Holy Spirit. When autumn arrives, may we be filled with the beauty of a life lived under his watchful eye, saturated with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Follow my blog for more encouragement throughout the month!

©Lauri Hawley 2022

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