An envelope full of leaves

One day, walking to the post office, I noticed the leaves were starting to turn colors. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I walked slowly, stopping to pick up the prettiest leaves, gently shuffling through the blanket of leaves, trying to uncover the most colorful and interesting ones. Bright green centers with orange and red edges, some all red – you know, the vivid-beyond-anything-you-can-imagine red/orange/pink color of maple leaves in all their fall glory. Each one is a work of art. At the time, Pastor Nathan was in Afghanistan, and I missed him so much. So, that day, I gathered a handful of the prettiest leaves, and when I got to the post office, I laid them between sheets of white paper, sealed them inside a cardboard envelope, and sent them off to Afghanistan. I figured by the time they got there, they’d be all brown and brittle, and it was likely Nathan would end up with an envelope full of crushed leaves. But I sent them anyway, because I love the colors so much it makes my heart hurt, and because when I studied overseas during college I missed seeing our version of autumn, and because it broke my heart to think of Nathan missing out on this beauty, this annual display of God’s splendor that takes our breath away every single time.

Of all the care packages and letters I sent, this is the one Nathan most often mentions. I don’t know why it affected him, but I know why I sent them. I missed him, and I wanted him to know I was thinking about him. And the colors were too beautiful not to share. I thought Nathan needed to see this quintessential part of life back home, and remember all the things he loved, and long to come home so strongly that nothing – no matter what, nothing – would keep him from returning.

I think this might explain why God gave us His Word. He loved us, and long before we had been born, He already longed for us to return to Him. He knew of the incredible beauty waiting for us and wanted to stir up a longing in our hearts that would sustain us. And, being the Creator of all, He knew intimately of the beauty of His home, and of His love, and of the beauty He placed within each of us. It was all too beautiful not to share. So He did.

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