Chasing Rainbows

Driving home from work one evening, I was blown away by the incredible sky.  It was one of those slow, summer sunsets that fills the sky and takes its time to travel across the horizon.  I pulled over to snap a few pictures while it was still light enough.  My car was parked on a rocky outlet on a side street, I left the car running and the door open as I jumped out to capture the last light on my trusty smart phone.  I was literally pursuing the light and chasing the beauty.  When was the last time you chased beauty?

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This reminded me of when I was a young high school student and my sister was in middle school.  At the time, our family lived in a house that backed up to a field and beyond that was a golf course.  One summer, a brilliant rainbow stretched across the sky and looked as if it was actually touching the ground in the field.  Colorful light filled a grassy area that appeared just a short distance away from our house.  My sister and I threw on our shoes, rushed out the back door and ran to find that rainbow.  I was sure we could touch it.

So we ran and ran.  We ran through the field and across the bridge that led to the golf course.  The farther we ran, the farther the rainbow went.  We ran on for a while pausing to catch our breath.  It’s not easy chasing rainbows in Colorado’s high altitude.  I put logic aside and was convinced I really could touch the rainbow if we ran faster.  We ran a little further, but alas, we didn’t touch the rainbow.  It was always just beyond our reach, and we knew that, yet we delightfully pursued anyway.  I love this little memory and I still hold in my heart a faith that says you can catch rainbows if you chase them hard enough.

Sometimes in the chaos of life we forget to chase rainbows.  We forget to look up and notice a summer sunset claiming the sky.  I turn my eyes inward and get stuck.  I put the emphasis on myself, not on He who is greater.  Suddenly, I forget rainbows and chasing beauty because I get lost in myself.  When will I wake up from this toxic sleep of self-obsession?  When will I be brave enough to be free, unbound in endless salvation, resting in quiet hallelujahs?

I hold dear a philosophy of chasing rainbows.  A little whimsy and faith can go a long way.  Maybe you can’t touch rainbows; maybe science says it’s impossible.  I don’t care.   I will keep chasing rainbows anyway.

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Alive and awake
Sky speak to me
I chase your brilliance
I catch sun’s last light

Quickly fading
My last glimpse is another’s first taste
Morphing color make your brilliance known to me
Great big sky encircle me like a warm embrace

Sweet kisses of pink, blue and gold
Heaven in the wisps of every cloud
Your vastness in miles of big open sky

Your creative canvas
Your most holy playground
A love letter of highest form
A kaleidoscope of light

Heaven softly calling from up above
Surrounded by love’s perfect touch
Clouds surrendered to their maker
Lighthearted they rest in splendid suspension

A place of fearless awe and wonder
Overwhelmed you would paint skies for me
In a world torn, hurting and afraid
You pause to create such beauty

Who am I to deserve such art?
A gift I’m most undeserving
But I’ll stand still and wait and watch 

A moment in time is mine for the taking
If only I’ll look up
Inward eyes I do despise
Yet I’m so easily swayed

Emphasis on you is joy
Roots of faith grow down deep
Taking hope from wondrous skies

Will you look up?

When my best friend and I were Juniors in high school we went on a school “field trip” to France.  The school required chaperones, which meant our moms got to come as well.  I call it a field trip, but calling a grand adventure such is nearly insulting.  I’ll call it our French Adventure instead.

Back home at school our teacher had told us to blend in by wearing nice clothes.  Jeans and tennis shoes were to be left at home as this would make us stand out as Americans.  Walking in a row 18 people long down the streets of France with cameras out, however, was acceptable.  And so, my best friend and I brilliantly bought matching outfits to blend in.  Our favorite outfit was black and white printed capris with little knit berets.  Seriously.  We totally blended in.

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Yes, we walked down the Eiffel Tower barefoot. Is there any other way?

 

In the midst of this two week French Adventure, we found ourselves in the most perfectly charming city overlooking the water around every cobblestoned bend.  High stoned walled kept the ocean on one side and the town on the other.  I can’t remember the name of this most perfect French town, but I do remember what happened here.Picture this.  You are walking together, the four of you, breathing in the city’s evening sounds as the sun is slowly deciding to set.  It’s not crowded, so you’re not worried about hanging onto your purse or watching where you’re going.  You are simply meandering, winding down streets of cobblestone.  Small buildings line the quiet street, some are shops, some are restaurants and a few others are homes.

Suddenly, you see something on the ground just a short distance ahead of you and your little group.  In your excitement, you point to it and yell, “Look up!”

Because you’re still excitedly pointing down at this mysterious object, you don’t understand why everyone is looking up.  Now everyone is just paces away from this object.  So, again, you point to the ground and shout with fervor, “Look up!”

Everyone continues to look up searching for what mystifying piece of historic scenery you are trying to point out.  It doesn’t occur to you that you meant to say “Look out” until your mom, who is focused on looking up, walks right into a pile of French doggie poo.

Oops.

Years later, my friend would use this little story as a word of advice.  On a Christmas card to me she wrote,

“I was thinking about our trip to France, and I discovered something profound.  As we walked along the cobblestone streets filled with poo you cried “Look up!”  I think you had discovered a universal truth: The road of life is full of sh… poop, and the best thing to do is to look up and just enjoy the beauty around us.  My wish for you this year is that you ignore the shit and enjoy all the wonderful things.”
I still have this Christmas card – it’s kind of a treasure.
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Clearly we were awesome.

Then today, I thought of this story again.  I was driving home from work and was blown away by the sunset.  Not just the sunset, but the skies themselves.  It was like standing inside a snow globe of sunset surrounded by a sky so vast you had to turn in circles just to see it all.  I had to pull over and take a picture (or ten) it was that breathtaking.  I don’t know what your sunsets are like, but in my opinion Colorado has the biggest skies.  This means miles of sky for your viewing pleasure, and a perfect canvas for sunsets.  But you will only see it if you look up.

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So often my eyes are glued to a computer screen, my phone, my desires, and my worries.  What if my eyes were more often drawn to the sky?  What if I sought His face over the bustling pace of life?  What if we all did?  What if we all trained ourselves to look up a little longer and a little more often?  What if we looked up?What if … two little words charged with potential.

Look up … two innocent words drenched with invitation.

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Every day we’re given invitations to stop what we’re doing and look up.  Moments of beauty given just for us.  Take a moment to breathe in the moments of peace.  Feel the sun warm your skin and the breeze on your face, don’t just take note of it on the run.  It’s a calling.
He will not force you to rest and look up.  But he’ll always be there waiting.
Will you look up?