Rainbows

Double Rainbow

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. – Gerard Manley Hopkins 

I love rainbows.

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was in a bus heading home.  As it began to rain on that sunny afternoon, I noticed there were rainbows among the clouds.  At that moment, I smiled at how beautiful the sky was.

Rainbows occur as rain pours during a sunny day, caused by the reflection of light in the water droplets, resulting in a spectrum of colours appearing in the sky.

Fantasy literature depicts adventures of princes and princesses as they seek for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When I was young, I imagined myself joining that quest, looking for that end.  They say that many have failed to do so and I daydreamed of one day bringing home the treasure.

A former student of mine called me up for a chat, while on her break from mission with the rural poor in Northern Luzon.  For a few months, she was working for a small school that was based in a community of farmers and fishermen.  She was describing how her life was very much different this year with her life in the city.  It was much simpler in the province with a slower lifestyle unlike in the fast-paced, stressed city life.

She began to have a desire to stay and work for the school after her mission work because of the appeal of an uncomplicated, meaningful life.  Yet, her ‘real life’ was in the city; her family and friends were all waiting for her to come back.  She asked if it was possible to bring that plain and unembellished way of life in an environment that is demanding and impressionable.

It was a dilemma for her, in which she would choose a certain conduct that is different from that of the surrounding she is in.  It would be frustrating when conflicts arise with not conforming to the norms.

The challenge is to be comfortable in such situations. There is tension in choosing values that would go against what the world depicts.  Life isn’t in plain black and white, and there will always be grey areas. 

We are asked to find consolation in these, as various options tend to pull us in different directions.  Accepting that we will always have that unsettling, misfit spots in our lives will lead to clearer, more confident and tranquil decisions. 

Like a sunny day experiencing rain, our grey areas will eventually yield a spectrum of colours in the sky.  Eventually, we will find our own pot of gold.

13 October 2013 | Adelaide, South Australia

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