the rainbow connection

rainbows. on wednesday, i was having a very bad day. no, it wasn’t due to humberto and the impending deluge…other things were weighing on my mind.

so, i drove home with the expectation of a quiet evening on the couch to calm my nerves, and on the ride homeward, the clouds had parted in one corner of the sky to reveal a rainbow. and i think to myself, ‘how can i be in a bad mood or feel sorry myself when i see something like this?’

how can a rainbow suddenly lift my mood? how can the appearance of the rainbow not put a smile on someone’s face? why is this?

is it because it happens so rarely? is it because it is beautiful? a natural phenomenon? or is it what rainbows represent? or is it perhaps a reminder of a simpler time in our lives…when we doodled rainbows and suns and birds and hearts with big crayola crayons? (i was just coloring rainbows, per her request, with my dear 5 year-old niece a week ago.)

so, having just looked ‘up ‘rainbow’ via wikipedia, i read:

In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven.

In Christian and Jewish scripture, the rainbow is interpreted as a sign of the covenant between God and man, and the biblical God’s promise to Noah that he would never again flood the entire Earth.

Historically, a rainbow flag was used in the German Peasants’ War in the 16th century as a sign of a new era, of hope and of social change.

just what i imagined. it only makes sense that people have associated rainbows with heaven. but why? because they were once unexplainable and thus, attributed to the divine? because they are in the sky? i don’t really think so. i see them and it’s a different feeling that stirs in my breast…

faith.

when i see a rainbow, i think of faith. i think of my faith. faith not only in the divine, but faith in people…in situations…in things like love and goodness and truth. how can i be a realist (and periodically, a closet cynic) and yet, have so much faith in my life?

when people ask me about my favorite movie, i can say, without a doubt, that it is ‘contact.’ they are sometimes baffled by my answer as a thespian, as it is not known for being particularly artful. and then, after a moment’s thought, they figure it is because of the sci-fi connection…which admittedly, plays a part. but i love that movie because it is about faith. it is about believing something so profoundly in your heart that you KNOW it to be true. to know god exists. to know aliens exist. to know you don’t know everything. to know you could be wrong…but that it doesn’t matter, because the act of having faith and expressing faith is quite possibly enough in and of itself.

so often, we allow ourselves to be swayed by the everyday trials…the routine…as well as by our fears, our jealousies, our petty concerns. how often are we stopped in our tracks by true expressions of faith?

i was watching the movie ‘pay it foward’ a little earlier. and dismiss it as sentimental or preachy if you must, but it illustrates such a wonderful idea. the concept is so simple and yet, so profoundly beautiful. to have faith in change. to have faith in people and to make an act in the good faith that the effort, the love, and the generosity will not stop with you. utopian? perhaps. but with only small steps, we may make big changes. it’s the little things, as well as the big things.

there is one moment in the movie in which a junkie talks a woman down from a ledge. holding out his hand to this hysterical woman, he tells her that all he could think about was his next fix until he saw her about to jump. and he calmly says, “have coffee with me. you can save me. please…save my life.”

yes, this is surely drama made for the movies. and perhaps we won’t be saving someone’s life. but maybe with that unsolicted smile to the stranger on the street, you have made some small difference. is that something to dismiss? we could all critisize ourselves for not doing more…not giving enough to charity, not volunteering enough or spending enough time in productive service of others…or simply not always being so considerate or kind. but a smile is not so difficult, is it? perhaps these small things might eventually coalesce into something indeed life-changing or live-saving.

[apparently, an attempt to implement this principle is being made by this organization: http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/get_involved.html]

so, to address my original question…rainbows. to me, rainbows represent faith. and despite the fact rainbows have been explained by science, maybe i choose to believe they are a sign…in fact, on wednesday, i KNOW the rainbow was a sign. knowledge (scientific and otherwise), observation, and pragmatism are certainly valuable. there is no doubt that faith should come with questions…to be sure, it should be the questions that strengthen your faith. and yet, i have faith in my sign. don’t let your own magic be taken away…

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~ by ladamesansregrets on September 15, 2007.

2 Responses to “the rainbow connection”

  1. i think rainbows are gay.

    just kidding. i like what you said about passing on smiles–nothing creepy or anything. I like smiling at people in traffic when you make eye contact. i love the times when you get a smile back.

    the “rainbow connection” song at the end of the original muppet movie (not muppets in space) when the rainbow breaks through the roof of the studio is awesome. is always maks me tear up.

  2. I always think of rainbows as a symbol of new hope. It’s an optimistic approach, but they always make me forget all my troubles and make me smile. I remember every rainbow I saw in the last two years. Oddly, each marked the begging on something new.

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