I believe there are colors that have never been seen on this earth.
I want to see them.
I am not sure how they could be more glorious than the colors of a sunset, the brilliant oranges and golds glittering and fading into the deep blue of night, with streaks of throbbing pink fighting sleep.
Could the tail feathers of a peacock be more beautiful if they only had a little dab of something? Is it possible? What about the intense velvety purple of a lemon-throated iris? Could that lily be gilded?
Does God see the colors we see when He looks at His creation? Or does He have a different type of eyes, ones that see eternity and the unknown and all the colors at once?
Maybe love has a color. Maybe forgiveness does too, and grace and courage.
Maybe laughter has a color.
Maybe laughter is all the colors.
On Friday I was doing some last minute packing for a weekend trip out of town. I pulled out a favorite tote bag that I frequently use for hauling electronics or notebooks or whatever on road trips and began removing the items I’d left in there from a previous trip. Mostly notebooks, papers, sketchbooks, drawing pencils and colored pencils.
But down in the bottom of the bag there was this:
Anyone want a snack?
Queen Anne’s Lace is abundant where I grew up in southeastern Ohio. It grows by the roadsides. It grows in pastures. It grows in fields and meadows.
It grows everywhere. Even if you don’t want it to.
The field beside the house in which I grew up had tons of Queen Anne’s Lace. As common as it was, I always thought it was beautiful with its lacy head of wispy flowers.
But my mom showed us that not only was it beautiful, it was educational and entertaining. And a little magical.
Every now and then in the summer she would send us out to pick some Queen Anne’s Lace. In reality, it was probably a way to get us out of her hair for ten minutes so she wouldn’t have to listen to the common refrain of “I’m boooored…” and “there’s nothing to doooo…”, both of which were risky declarations because she usually immediately
threatened offered to help us find something to do.
Note: Listen, kids…when your mom tells you that she can give you something to do, you’d better go find a way to be bored away from her eyesight and out of her earshot. Unless you like scrubbing the tub or cleaning your room, that is.
We would trounce back into the house with our hands full of Queen Anne’s Lace. It was almost certainly full of riders similar to the one in the photo above, but if mom found any she never made a fuss. She wasn’t really squeamish about bugs any way.
She filled several jars with water and placed them on the kitchen counter. And then came the fun part: in each jar she would place a few drops of food coloring. The flowers were divided up and placed in the jars. Then we had to wait.
But we weren’t bored. I just want to make that clear. Not bored at all. No need to find anything for us to do, thanks.
After an hour or two the magic appeared: our white lace flowers began turning the same color as the water they were sitting in! Ta-da!
We thought it was the coolest thing since air-conditioning, something we didn’t have during the dog days of summer in the oppressive Ohio Valley heat and humidity.
Back then it was a neato little lesson, watching those white flowers suck up the colored water until they themselves took on the color they’d been drinking. But now I think about what a clear demonstration it is of how we begin to reflect what we absorb.
What you decide to feed your heart and mind really matters.
Focus on negative things and you will eventually find yourself jaded, embittered, depressed, critical, and suspicious, with hope and joy becoming scarce commodities in your life. If you find yourself described with any of those words, you may need to see about soaking yourself a cleaner jar of water. You only get one life, and that’s just not a nice way to spend it.
Honestly, it’s harder work to focus on that which is good, kind, truthful, peaceful, hopeful, joyous, and life-giving. That stuff doesn’t sell news like acts of terrorism and mindless celebrity drivel. You have to search it out yourself and then give it a place of honor in your thinking and your worldview. It won’t happen accidentally.
But just wait until you see what incredible color you’ll bring to the world when you choose to soak up outrageous hope and joy until you get all sloshy and people accuse you of not keeping your head in the “real world”. You will laugh in Kodachrome.
It will be glorious.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29008606@N04/2707247412″>Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
I saw a sunset.
The tourists saw a photo op.
The artist saw inspiration.
The sailor saw a compass.
The bats saw an alarm clock.
The children saw a bedtime alert.
The deer saw a dinner bell.
The city saw a light switch.
The old man saw time flying.
The cows saw a call to come home.
The whippoorwill saw an orchestra conductor.
The security guard saw a warning.
The farmer saw a time clock.
The lovers saw romance.
The sisters saw a call to prayer.
The jasmine saw an invitation to unfold.
The flashlight saw a time to shine.
The weary saw the prelude to mercy.
The eastern sky saw darkness.
Everyone saw the sunset.
But only a few saw glory.
At 4:00pm I was offered a ticket to a sold-out 7:00pm concert that was about an hour and a half away. Someone unable to use theirs gave them to my friend, who offered one to me. Bethel Music.
I didn’t exactly need to debate if I wanted to go. Seriously…duh. I ran home and grabbed a coat and a handful of cashews (since I obviously wasn’t going to get dinner) and we hit the road. We arrived just as the event was beginning.
The entire thing was a great experience.
But truth be told, it wasn’t always the music that captured me. Sometimes I had to simply stop and look around the room at the packed house full of people who were anything but spectating concert-goers. They were worshipers. And I realized that I was going to spend eternity with most of the people in that room.
It was kind of nice getting a little head start on it.
It’s 67 degrees and it’s blowing rain around outside. I can’t really see it because it’s dark out there, but the sound of it is unmistakable.
I said, it’s 67 degrees. In February.
Do you know just how wrong that is?
States north of us are having ice storms and heavy dumps of snow. They (and don’t ask me who “they” are because I’d have to make something up) have actually named the winter storm Octavia. We don’t have an Octavia.
We have 67 degrees and rain.
People move here to the FL panhandle so they can have 67 degrees in February. The flip side is 98 degrees and 127% humidity in July.
I reckon it’s possible that if I moved back north I would say “older self, you assumed you would handle the cold the way younger self handled it. But your bones are older now, and your blood is thinner because you’ve had too much sweet tea and fried green tomatoes over the past 17 years. Your brain has beome pickled in southern summer sweat. Get back below the Mason-Dixon line, pronto.”
Like I said, it’s possible…but not probable.
I get this way when it’s 67 degrees and raining outside.
Did I mention that it’s February?
Some dreams fly high without a care in the world that someone might see them. They squawk and twirl and set their tail feathers on fire so that they might write messages on the sky. They exist out loud. Gloriously so.
You can’t really miss them when you see them.
Other dreams live quietly. They aren’t smaller, nor are they less intense simply because they whisper instead of shout. They are a slow burn, flames that consume from the inside out. It is as if they are too sacred to reveal themselves at full volume. They do not care to be released recklessly.
It’s easy to stare straight at one and not know what you’re looking at.
You are surrounded by people who hold God-sized dreams. Have you noticed?
Or did you mistake silence for emptiness?
If all is quiet and there are no messages written the sky, inhale deeply.
Do you smell smoke?
Then be assured…there is a fire somewhere close by.