I spent the first thirty minutes with my Spiritual Director spewing a rambling narrative. I described a restlessness in my heart and a deeply felt longing I couldn’t quite put my finger on. She said flatly, “Maybe you’re entering a new season.” Although I’ve heard the term many times, I never looked at my life as a series of different seasons. That was a few months ago. As I look at the stunning colors of the leaves this Fall, I see some parallels between the change in the seasons around me and the change in the seasons of my life.
The leaves in the foothills of North Carolina change from green to a vibrant yellow, orange, and red. It’s a marvel of nature and a gift from God.
Biologists would describe it differently. In the summer, the dominant pigment in the leaves is chlorophyll, fueled by long sunny days. As I learned from my favorite science teacher in the 7th grade, chlorophyll converts sunlight to energy and gives the leaves a green color. In the Fall, the days grow shorter and the tree produces less chlorophyll. This allows the other pigments in the leaves – the reds, oranges, and yellows – to come to the fore and bring to the world a beautiful array of colors.
In my own life, the rigors of raising a family and building a career fueled my ‘chlorophyll’ and a vigorous ‘green’ surrounded my activities. Now, as I enter this new season, I’m not devoting as much energy to these pursuits. Yet I see other ‘colors’ begin to emerge, talents and spiritual gifts that were waiting in the background. The hidden reds and oranges and yellows are now beginning to shine.
A healthy tree filled with green leaves in the middle of the summer is a thing of beauty. But as marvel at the colors that have set nearby Baker Mountain on fire, I see a different beauty, maybe richer and more diverse than the season that came before.
I’m thinking that my spiritual director was on to something. My life may be making a similar change. As one color fades, a new palette of colors emerges.
Spend a few minutes pondering the changing season in your world and your life. What new colors is God bringing to the fore?
Note: Originally posted in the Catholic Conference Center newsletter.