True Colors

- Adam Lorenz

Fall is a season of color. Countless colors are exposed as the chlorophyll slowly fades from each leaf. As the leaves begin to fall we delight in this beauty - all of the vibrant reds, burnt oranges, yellows and browns that fill the landscape of many areas. Simultaneously, we mourn the certain winter and cold that is just around a few days or weeks away. 

The colors we experience, these are the true colors of the trees finally shown to the world. No longer hidden in the greens of summer - the trees now show their uniqueness and beauty that were there all along. 

But they only show themselves but for a moment. 

When was the last time you sensed your own true colors?  When was the last time the world truly saw you?

Like the leaves, we might only experience these colors for a moment but once we do – we know. Too often we think someone’s true colors are shown clearly when things are at their worst:  those selfish acts in a moment of stress, the road rage when someone cuts us off, or when some thing precious was taken from us. 

But then what of beauty? Are our true colors simply the worst in humanity and the world? What if, as Rob Bell has said, that in ‘every glimmer of good, every hint of hope, every impulse that elevates the soul is a sign, a taste, a glimpse of how things actually are and how things will ultimately be.’ What if the momentary, compelling colors of fall are a glimpse of the greater truth and reality that lay just under the surface. 

Could this change how we see the colors of another bursting forth? Might there be new life to experience all around in fresh ways? In our conversations with friends and family, in the playing of music, in the writing of thoughts, in the process of creating, and in countless other ways - we are invited to see these moments as instances where we know who we are and how things will be. 

Young children seem to tap into this in such a pure manner as they play in the piles of leaves during this season - they delight in being in the moment. The colors encompass them; they play until they are too cold or their parents begrudgingly call them inside. They seem to understand that they need to take in all they can, for tomorrow will hold a completely different set of possibilities. Through their moment of play, we are able to see the beauty of who they are and who they are becoming. We have seen this in the people we engage each day, moments in our daily routine that tap into that deeper reality. And others have seen that in us. 

So our true colors shine, sometimes but for an instant. What if we began to name and recognize those moments? What might that mean for ourselves? For our friends struggling to see hope? For the world? What if together we choose to embrace those moments to their fullest.

Maybe those moments could begin to stretch themselves to an afternoon, to a day, to a week, to a month, to a lifetime. So won’t you show your colors to the world with me? Because the more of them we are able to see and experience, the more we see what will ultimately be.

Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.