What Autumn Can Teach Us About Diversity

Autumn forest

Autumn is filled with a so many nuances that make it special. The scent of cider and cinnamon, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, hayrides, football and scary movie marathons. But, I think the beauty that overtakes the trees is the most noticeable. Hues of gold, scarlet and tangerine begin to decorate the landscape creating a breathtaking tapestry of diversity.

I grew up in the Midwest where the seasonal burst of color is an annual rhythm. I’ve found while living in Las Vegas, it requires a bit more intentionality to find the same beauty. But if you’re aware, you can’t miss it. And if you’re paying really close attention, you can’t miss these three facts that autumn teaches us about our own diversity.

We Don’t Decide Where We’re Rooted

As I drove through my neighborhood seeing the street lines with trees, it struck me. Just like a tree doesn’t decide where it’s planted, we don’t decide the origins of our roots, our ethnicity, or our ancestry. Whether a seed is carried off by the wind or is purposefully planted, the tree itself doesn’t have a say in how, when or where it will grow up. And neither do we. We don’t get to choose the period of history when we’re born, our DNA, our family members, or our childhood neighborhood.

Tree turning colors

Depending on where they’re planted, some trees get a lot of sun, water, fertilizer and attention. They are able to grow strong and flourish while others receive limited resources. In turn, they struggle to survive. Are we any different? Some individuals, by no fault of their own, have limited access to resources and opportunities. They strive, continually longing for more, but are often met with half as much. Like a sapling trying to grow in hidden away and thirsty, they too struggle to feel the sun and be nourished.

We’re More Alike Than We’re Different

Look at a forest, or even the trees that adorn your neighborhood. You’ll see a vast variety all in the same area. Each is unique in it’s own way. Yet, despite the variety which makes them individually beautiful, we also see similarities. The same can be said of us.

In fact, we are actually more alike than we are different. Each of us brings a distinct authenticity to the world; that’s true. It’s also true that at our core, we all want the same things: to be loved, valued, seen and known. All of us want to feel safe and protected. We all long for our children to have access to the necessary tools and resources for them to achieve their dreams. These and countless other ideals weave us together, reminding us how connected we truly are.

Our Diversity is Beautiful

As the sun danced off the kaleidoscope of colors, it reminded me of the beauty of our own diversity. Can you imagine how boring a forest would be if it were comprised of only one type of tree! The same type, height and diameter. Not to mention in the fall, they all don the same color! No thank you!

The beauty of a forest lies in its diversity. Conifers and evergreens; maple and oaks; bushes and shrubs; poplars and elms join the choir of countless others to create a breathtaking experience. In the same way, each of us brings our own beauty and array of contributions to the world. By ourselves we shine. But when we collectively display our God-given attributes physically, ethnically, and culturally, the results (like those in a forest at the height of autumn) are stunning.

I can’t help but think that since God has gifted us with the beauty of diversity, He must also love to watch us celebrate it together. In doing so, our celebration becomes an act of worship back to Him, an offering of thanksgiving for His loving care in creating us so wonderfully unique. And just as He knows where each seed will take root, He knows the diversity you and I each bring to the world, a unique gift that is our’s alone. A gift, that He not only allows us the opportunity to share…and receive, but longs for us to experience together.

Before the last leaf falls around you this year, won’t you take a moment to look around, take a deep breath of that crisp autumn air and thank God for the beauty that is all around you, in nature, in your neighborhood, in your workplace, in your school, in your church and even in your family.


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