It was early last summer when my father and I stood in the garage and watched the rain come down. He had been grilling our dinner when it started pouring, but he managed to get the grill just inside the door to avoid the deluge. I had just joined him in the garage to check on his progress. My mother and I had been getting everything else ready in the kitchen, and we figured our main course would be ready soon.
Neither of us said anything as we took in the brief rain storm. A rumble of thunder overhead took me by surprise because it had seemed like the rain was letting up. In fact, it looked like the sun was about to peek out.
So that day, just outside the garage, I kept searching for the rainbow, even though I knew it was possible that there wasn’t enough sunlight to cast upon the fading raindrops. But then as I continued to squint, I saw a faint line of color. “Is that…?”
I had barely spoken when my dad replied: “Yeah, there’s something there. It’s a rainbow, getting brighter.”
I stepped further out of the garage, not caring that I was getting dripped on by the drizzling rain. My mom came out of the house then and asked what we were doing. I don’t know if my dad answered her, because I was focused on that rainbow, drinking in the beauty and thanking God that I could see it.
Eventually, we all went inside to eat, but it wasn’t before I watched the rainbow fade from the sky. I waited until the sun was warm on my dark hair and the dark clouds were barely visible on the eastern horizon.
I thought about this moment last week when it rained for the first time this year. The abundance of snow that we had on the ground rapidly began to melt as a result of the added moisture and the warm temperatures. It made me think of Noah in the Bible and how God had shown His promise of faithfulness after the flood had receded from the earth. As water ponded and flowed in a small stream around my house, I longed for the beauty of a rainbow. But instead, the sky was dreary with no hint of sunlight, and the snow banks were gray and muddy. I couldn’t help but compare the scenery to my recent circumstances.
The day before, my sister had called and we talked for awhile. She asked how I was doing, and when I said “fine,” she pressed a little deeper. “I’ve been reading your Facebook posts,” she said. “Your loneliness, your ankle, all those challenges— you’re okay now?”
“Well, yeah, I guess,” I said. “It’s still rough. I can’t really go anywhere on my own yet. The ice is finally melting, but now there’s water everywhere. And my ankle is still not healed. I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
Immediately, I found wisdom in my own words. Yes, it had been rough, but it was totally okay to take things day-by-day. It reminded me of the early days after my retina detachment. The depression had been significant during that time, but there had also been some sweet moments too. I was able to spend time with my parents, my sisters, and my nieces and nephews. My mom and I cooked and baked together. We made the best of our trips to Mayo Clinic by stopping at Trader Joe’s and finding tea we both enjoyed. We would spend our evenings, sipping tea by the fireplace and simply being together. When I think of the fall of 2017, fear and depression are definitely a part of that season but there was also a calm and security too. It was a time for healing and growth.
I knew if I examined my current season with fresh eyes, I could find the blessings in the difficulty. It wasn’t long before I began to formulate a mental list of positives that had come from the recent winter months: the fitness class, learning to do my hair, embracing new technology, making music with my OneVoice girls, and watching Hallmark movies. Friends helped me get groceries, drove me to work, and made sure I got to my appointments when I couldn’t leave my house due to the weather. Other friends were just a call away if I needed a distraction or words of encouragement. Even though there were moments I felt limited and closed up inside my house, I was never left lacking; God was faithful and took care of me, even as the smoke alarms malfunctioned, a hoped-for opportunity was cancelled, and my ankle still radiated pain.
I knew I could find beauty in the challenges if I was willing to look on the bright side. It made me think of the little sun-catcher prisms my grandma had hanging in her windows when I was young. I would sit on the floor and purposefully follow the little rainbows of light as they moved across the floor and walls of the living room. Maybe this is why I’ve always liked rainbows and searching for the sunlight because it has been a part of my life since the beginning. It made me smile when I went to visit my grandma in the care facility recently, and I saw the little rainbows moving across her bed. Someone had found her prisms and had put them in the window. I had thought that maybe the sun-catchers had been put into storage or lost somehow when she had moved out of her house. But they were there in the window, and it was like everything was right in the world. I never knew how much I had missed those little sun-made rainbows until I glimpsed them again after their absence.
Rainbows don’t always last for long… they are fleeting, and sometimes they appear and then fade moments after the rain. But if it weren’t for the rain (the tough stuff in life), we wouldn’t be actively looking for blessings along the way. Even though life has its challenges, grief, and heartache, God is still faithful. Sometimes we need the darkness of our circumstances to find the blessings in the sunlight. The rainbow is the bridge between the pain and beauty. But sometimes you have to be looking intentionally to see the promises up ahead. You might be tempted to escape the rain just as soon as possible; I know I have that perspective for sure! It’s no fun to stand in the drizzle, nor is it enjoyable to endure life’s challenges. But if you can find perspective in the midst of the storm, perhaps you can catch a glimpse of color and light. Don’t hold back; go chase that rainbow.