I was given a wonderful new gift today - a perfect spot beneath the shade of a crimson Dogwood tree. I felt such a sense of quiet relief after the confusion and chaos of yesterday's insecurity. Bathed in dappled sunlight, the anxiety and confusion of the day before began to slowly melt away.
In the quiet stillness of the morning light, my thoughts began to slow as my eyes were drawn to the surrounding beauty. The whisper of the gentle autumn breeze calmed and comforted me. The warm October sunlight began to melt the icy fear that had gripped my soul.
As I focused on some of the individual leaves above me, I gained a new appreciation for the uniqueness of each one. It occurred to me that each leaf was not beautiful because of its perfection but because of its variation and even imperfection. There was a place reserved for each particular leaf on the tree.
Each leaf in the rainbow of reds was one of a kind. Some were tinged with green; others blotched with dark spots of burgundy. Some were worn with holes and tears left from a long season of harsh weather and hungry insects. Still the humble beauty remained.
I thought of the blotches and lines on my own aging skin and prayed that I could see them through these same eyes of acceptance and peace. Growing older is not something our society applauds. Still there is a wisdom and a beauty that only deepens with increasing years and seasons - a beauty composed of scars and pain and imperfections.
Each leaf has its own individual story just as we do as human beings. We each bring an important contribution to the world. How often we judge our own place as damaged and worthless compared to those around us. How often we feel that we fail to measure up to the sleek media images that surround us.
But we each have a spot prepared just for us - a spot where we can grow to maturity and let our true gifts emerge. These gifts may be small or large but they each contribute a critical offering to our world. Each one, no matter how small, is significant.
I pray that we might have eyes to see the beauty that shines forth from each of us just as it does from each and every facet of creation.
The heavens declare the the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.