Noticings – October 6, 2021


October 6, 2021 

Autumn is by far my favourite season of the year. I love the cooling temperatures, the crispness in the air, the return of comfy sweaters and hoodies, and most of all, of course, the colours. Yesterday while walking our dog we noticed (it’s amazing what you notice when you stop looking at screens and get outdoors!) a gorgeous maple tree that had vibrant red leaves. We walked by, and on our return trip we saw the same maple from the other direction, only on that side it was still a verdant green-leaved tree. Why was one side colourful and the other side green? Many of you probably know this already, but I’m a guitar player, so I had to look it up.

I had noticed that the red-leaved side was south-facing, which I guess means that it has more sun. What I learned was that that is kind of true, but not in the way I think. Because it usually got more sun, the red side was ‘feeling’ the lessening of sunlight hours that autumn brings and was responding by producing less chlorophyll – which is what makes the leaves green. The green side hadn’t noticed the lack of light as much, I guess. (I hope I haven’t got that science part too terribly wrong.)

That got me pondering. One of the many metaphors we use to describe faith is “walking in the light.” The more light we feel the more ‘spiritual chlorophyll’ we produce. So what happens in those seasons when our spiritual light doesn’t seem to be shining so brightly? Do we ‘change colour’? Do we strive to conceal our inner disequilibrium by putting on some sort of camouflage of over-compensating by being extra colourful in some other way?

We wear all kinds of masks in our lives (no, not the Covid kind). We take on all kinds of roles, wear all kinds of hats and costumes, play all kinds of parts. I wonder if it takes deeper strength and extra light-enhanced spiritual chlorophyll to play the part of the authentic ‘me’? The real me. The one I don’t show anyone else. The one only God sees. And it seems to me that the only way to get that light is to intentionally walk in it more and more, as best we can. That’s tougher when the seasons seem to be working against us, and it feels like there’s less light around, but our faith reminds us that we are not alone.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I love the autumn, but I think I may never look at the splendour of the changing leaves the same way again. Now as I look at them I may see a heart (my heart?) crying out for more light. And a reminder that there is beauty, even in the struggle.

For a video version of “Noticings” click here.

Rev. Larry