Beauty in Death

“There are a great many reasons people celebrate the fall foilage, not the least of which is that it is indeed very pretty…But we also understnad that the phantasmogoric colors we see in the trees are millions (billions?) of leaves slowly dying.  we might not know the biology behind the change, but we realize that the leaf is turning from green to red because imminently it will fall to the ground, where it will sink into hte forsest floor on it way to becoming humus.

“The science is actually pretty simple: The tree is aware that the cold is coming and the leaves haven’t a prayer.  Consequently it produces a wall of cells at the base of the leaf, precisely where the stem meets the twig, thus preventing fluids from reaching the leaf.  At the same time, the leaf stops producing chlorophyll, the chemical behind photosynthesis and the reason leaves are green.  Without the chlorophyll, the leaf’s other chemicals become obious, such as the maple’s red caratenoids.  Soon the leaf withers and dies.

“But what a handsome death it is.  No dementia, no incontinence, no children or loved ones bickering over whether to pull the plug or order one last round of chemo cocktails.  Humans should be so lucky as to turn the kaleidoscopic colors of the forest when we pass.”

-Secrets of Eden, by Chris Bohjalian, pg 202

Of course this presupposes that if leaves had conscience thought that they would think the colors were beautiful.  In fact, I think the leaves would find the lack of color as a loss of dignity just as we often see these human frailities of the end of life.  We, outside the leaf world, are able to see the beauty that exists within that percieved indignity.  Likewise, God sees our aging from beyond our world.  And our ending years could look quite beautiful to Him, not because of the incontinence and dementia, but because of the wonderful hearts filled with complassino that care for the dying with gentleness.

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

Matthew 10:42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers,
you will surely be rewarded.”

I think it is beautiful when a family member overloods a dementia triggered mistake or a nurse cleanse a dirty bed.

1 Sam 16:7 The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”


One thought on “Beauty in Death

  1. Ah yes, beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. How comforting to know the eyes of God beholds us with love and those of us who have received his grace sees us beautiful through the sacrificial gift of His Son, Jesus . . .

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