“There is one sin: to call a green leaf grey, Whereat the sun in heaven shuddereth.” — G.K. Chesterton
This quote was cited by Lynn Anderson in his book Talking Back to God, as he described walking through his cancer diagnosis and the accompanying ‘dark night of the soul.’ When I read it, it leaped off the page and I’ve spent the better part of my weekend turning it over and over in my mind.
Chesterton’s words fell on my heart and mind like this. A leaf, as I understand it, represents something in my life that comes from God. That can be a blessing or a gift that he has bestowed. But it can also be in the form of a challenge or difficulty. Either way, the leaf finds its origin in God, and by nature is green, which is the color of life and growth. Green speaks of the value of the leaf and the benefit that it offers.
But to call that green leaf gray, the color of death, is to diminish the value and benefit of the leaf. In life we all have to play the hands we are dealt. And each hand beckons, “What is the invitation within the hand I have been dealt?” For Anderson, even the hand of cancer contained “an invitation,” and he learned that indeed, the green leaf in not gray.
It is easy to devalue what God has given. We can even do it by taking credit for the blessings we have or by simply being ungrateful.
My prayer for today is that I take the good and perfect gifts from God and remember they are ever green.