We just got back from several days in Tennessee. It was supposed to be the height of fall color. All reds and golds and yellows. Spectacular color; outrageous contrasts.
I heard this wasn’t a good season for color there. Something about not a good enough cold snap for the leaves to be able to change.
I was really looking forward to seeing color. A palette of gorgeous stroked over nature. Living in Florida, the only change we see is from green to brown. The only seasons we have are dry and wet.
Wherever I looked, it appeared that colors were just faded. No blingy brights. No sassy stunners. Just washed out yellows, over-aged oranges, rusty reds.
Dull. Drab. Disappointing.
As we drove, I caught glimpses of glorious color. A tree here. Parts of a small bush there. A little bit of a tease.
It wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It wasn’t what I’d expected. I was a little disappointed.
I grew up in the Midwest and know what fall is like. I’ve been surrounded by color. Overwhelmed by color. A scarlet canopy of blazing maple trees lining a street. Sunny yellow elms challenging the brilliance of the light overhead.
This felt paltry.
Such is life. There are days when I think this wasn’t what I’d hoped for. This wasn’t what I expected. Not sure I would have chosen this.
Then I’m confronted with the beauty of a solitary maple, golden red leaves waving in the breeze. Or a bush painted with brilliant red contrasting with rich green.
Or the laugh of a child. The hug of a loved one. The smile of a friend I haven’t seen in awhile.
I think I set myself up for disappointment by expecting the brilliant color across the forest. Daily.
I miss the small reminders of the beauty that is there. I just have to look for it.
I often expect God to show up in big ways as well. Answering my every prayer the way I pray it. Meeting my every need the way I think it should be met.
Elijah struggled the same way. A prophet of God during a time of incredible wickedness in Israel, he felt he’d done all he could for God. God had shown up in a big way. But now his life was on the line, and Elijah wanted God to show up in a way he expected.
“‘Go out and stand before Me on the mountain,’ the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
There’s color to be seen in the forest–if I look. And God can be seen in the bits of wonder that every day brings.
If I listen for His whisper, He will wash me with His color.
That’s a whole lot of awesome.