Cooler, crisper days with wind and swirling leaves tell us autumn is here. The trees lose their lush, green foliage, and stand stark and bare. At the same time, the green, green leaves begin their change of life. Green becomes yellow or red or peach or bronze or dark maroon. We stoop to pick one up from the ground, because it is so lovely.
Just days ago, we would not have noticed this particular leaf as it was fastened to the tree. Among all the other green leaves, it just was part of the whole. But now, as we look at its unique beauty, the individual leaf comes to the fore.
It doesn’t take a giant leap to compare this to our own life and interactions with others. The aging process in humans parallels that of the leaf in some respects. One big difference is that older people often are lumped into a group, e.g. Senior Citizens. We do not take the time to see what the older person has to offer. The people doing this best are children. They often gain so many insights from talking with grandparents, or great uncles or aging aunts.
For older people the autumn of their lives can be drab, not colorful like the leaves. I wonder what I might do to help them realize their beauty. Maybe I could gather a few or visit a nursing home and lead a sing-a-long of oldies. Alternatively, I might show some black and white movies from the time of their youth. Storytelling of the memories they hold can be captivating. I may not be able to do any of these things. But I can do something.
Autumn should be beautiful. Not just for leaves but for everyone.
Peace and Joy,
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg