Recently my mind was blown by something my kids learned in their botany lesson about trees: leaves don’t really turn new colors in the fall! Green leaves do NOT turn red, yellow, or orange.
I’m not sure if I slept through this fact the first time I learned botany or what, but once again I find myself very thankful I get to learn with my kids a second time around. According to their book, in the fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll – the stuff that makes leaves green. The color that the leaves become then was already there; it was just hidden under the chlorophyll.
Isn’t that fascinating? A leaf was red (or orange or yellow) all along, but we just didn’t know it until the fall came because the chlorophyll was covering it up.
Quick review about chlorophyll: In order for plants to make their own food through photosynthesis, they need light, and chlorophyll is the green substance which helps them absorb that light. So chlorophyll is there to help the plant do its job. When the leaf no longer does that job – in the fall – it no longer makes chlorophyll.
When we were reading about all this, my kids said, “Cool!” and then scrambled down to go play before lunch. But the lesson has stuck with me much longer.
I can’t help but compare us to these leaves. Right now most of us are in the Chlorophyll Days. We are busy doing our jobs – raising kids, teaching, working on other endeavors, etc. Someday, though, our chlorophyll will fade as we no longer need to do our jobs, and then our true colors will be evident.
When we were babies, our true nature was obvious. We were selfish, needy, wide-open with our emotions and personality. And when we are old, many of our learned guards and filters will disappear again and we will again be wide-open and unpretentious. Our “true colors” will shine through again.
Now, I think one of the main differences between us and leaves (ok, ok, I know there are many) is that while a leaf’s color may remain unchanged for its whole short life, our colors may change. We start life immature and as we grow, we change. We all know people who have become more joyful and beautiful as they’ve aged, and we also have known people who become increasingly bitter and resentful.
But, it’s so easy during these Chlorophyll Days, not to pay any attention to our true selves. We are busy! We are busy serving and giving and helping and teaching and training and washing and driving and nursing and wiping and brushing and vacuuming and drying and rescuing toddlers from the tops of tables. There are a lot of verbs in our lives!
We’re using our chlorophyll to absorb the light and do our jobs.
Someday, though, the chlorophyll will fade and we will be left with our true colors.
So what can we do now to make sure our real selves are growing in beauty?
Here are some questions to think about:
Am I turning myself to soak up the Sun, or am I drooping in the shadows?
Who or what I am repeatedly looking to? We become like what we look at.
Am I finding times to rest and re-charge?
Am I feeding my soul with Truth from God’s word?
How can we let more light into our lives?
In these Chlorophyll-Filled Days, remember your true colors are still beneath all the busyness and activity. Let us continue to soak up the light and allow it to change who we are.