While driving through the countryside to church on Sunday, I admired the fall colors and thought to myself, there’s beauty, even in death. Reality is the leaves are dying; they are aging, and they are wasting away; the end, for them, is near. Yet they are stunning.

We’ve had a particularly glorious array of color in our fall leaves recently this month. It has been breathtaking against the beauty of a clear blue sky. These leaves are teaching me lessons.

On our family walk one night this week, I said of the fall colors, “Nobody paints like God does. No matter how we try to recreate his handiwork, we just can’t do it.” No paintings measure up, though beautiful. No colors of clothing can compare. No beauty compares to that which God creates.

In my mind, these thoughts of the beautiful fall colors join together to form one truth: As the leaves, we are wasting away, but God is doing something tremendously beautiful with our lives. The truth is that all of us are wasting away in our physical bodies. Yet, God is painting something so beautiful in each of us. Our time here, no matter how “long” it may seem, is, as the Bible tells us, but a breath.

We are, like the leaves, near the end. But there is still so much beauty that we can display even with our broken lives.I find this particularly true for some of the aging folks in my own life: You are stunning. God is doing beautiful things, even as your roles change, your life slows. Some of the most beautiful people I know are entering the final portion of this earthly race. Your beauty is inspiring. Never lose sight of how beautiful your life is.

This truth of beauty in brokenness also reassures me that God is doing beautiful things even though my daughter experiences physical brokenness in more severity than most. Her sweet life is a beautiful thing for all who encounter her. My mom (above) once told me that Sophie, with all she is going through, is surely favored by God. We know that God’s favor doesn’t necessarily appear how we think it might, and so I’d like to think she’s right. I see that God is doing something so beautiful with Sophie’s life, regardless of any brokenness she carries.

When others see my life, see Sophie’s life, I hope that they are breathless. I hope our lives are a blaze of color which causes others to think, “Nobody paints like God does.” Nobody crafts a life the way he does. In spite of our brokenness, he makes beautiful things out of us.

Catherine Burleigh
Tablet of Her Heart