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Posted Thursday, November 10, 2011, at 7:20 PM


By Rayla Stewart Hogue

Special to the Daily Statesman

He loved his tree. It had given him strength, nourishment, community, and love for the time he had been there. His life on the tree was long. He had been there for so long and endured so much. He remembered his bright green days with great affection. There had been so many good times.

Now as he looked about him, all the leaves were changing colors. As he looked about he saw many green leaves, some pinkish, but most were red. As he caught a glimpse of himself, he realized he was losing his green shades and color was beginning to show. As the green faded he realized he was turning red.

For a long time, his red color became more and more intense as his green faded and his true color was revealed. He loved being red. He had lived his life honorably, building a family, and serving his country. His heart--his beliefs--ran strong and true. His red was strong and true--a perfect color for him as his life was coming to an end.

She was all about family. She loved her children, her grandchildren, her extended family, and those who became a part of her life. She was such a comfortable leaf on the tree. She encouraged all those around her.

These days, she noticed some of her green was fading and her natural color underneath was beginning to show. She actually liked the color she saw--a cross or orange and pinks. It was a rich color--full, with hints of pinks, hints of red, but really a deep ripe orange. The colors were happy, appealing, and drew others to her. She wasn't too flashy--just right.

She felt she should still have years and years left to enjoy the communal life of the tree. But, she noticed her green fading. It was harder and harder to remain and one day she finally let go. The green faded and left only the beauty of her true color. As hard as it was, she left her still green family behind. Her beauty remained for all to see. Her bright bubbly nature still showed through in her beautiful color.

He was a young man. His tree was full of life and love. His particular branch was beautiful with his children, his wife, and so many others who encountered his true strength. He loved his life among others, feeling the earth in such real and practical ways.

One day, he realized that his leaf was no longer fully green. He realized that he was turning yellow--not a dull, dried-out color, but a rich, true yellow. His color was full and vibrant with green tinges. Before he realized what was happening, his grasp on the tree failed and he quietly floated away from the tree.

His family was astonished. He was so young, but with his true color revealed they saw his true essence clear and strong.

We are all leaves on the tree of life. Our true colors are there all along, just under the green.

In our end is our beginning, in our time, infinity;

In our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity,

In our death, a resurrection at the last, a victory,

Unrevealed until its season something God alone can see.

God, help us to be brave as our true color begins to show. Help us to realize that death is not the end, but a beginning. Help us God to be ready to spend eternity with you, and to rest assured that you always see who we really are underneath the color that we show the world. Comfort those we leave behind.

Thank you God for allowing us to see the true colors of Edward Reed, Shelby Jean McKay-Arbogast, and Donnie Wall. Though we miss them, we know that like the song "In the Bulb there is a Flower by Natalie Sleeth," they are now revealed to you.


672 words

2011 Rayla Stewart Hogue

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"In our end is our beginning, in our time, infinity;

In our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity,

In our death, a resurrection at the last, a victory,

Unrevealed until its season something God alone can see."

Speaks volumes!

-- Posted by swift on Mon, Nov 14, 2011, at 3:53 PM

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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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