Hope and healing, and rainbows fade quickly

I am not really big on hope. Hope with an upper-case “H.” There was a sixties song called “Wishing and Hoping” that never resonated with me. Well, why spend your life wishing and hoping? In fact, the song goes on to urge a woman to “get her man” by taking action, wearing her hair the way he likes it… Well, that was the sixties.

My feeling about hope has always been: It may never happen. I am trying to train myself to stay in the present – mindfulness, and all that good stuff. I am more comfortable with that.

Let me explain: In case you have wondered where I have been, this is just to let you know that there has been a bit of a health crisis in my family, and life has changed. It has suddenly, and completely unexpectedly, rearranged itself and departed from its usual gentle, rather unexciting but steady pace. We would like to go back to “unexciting,” but alas… We have “pivoted,” to use that COVID word.

So, now – I do find myself wishing and hoping, just a little.

As the early morning light crept in, the morning after it happened, I woke in a dim, yellowish light, and heard rain dripping off the awning at the window. The weather very much suited my feeling of oppression, as the memories of the previous night returned.

And yet, something beautiful had, in fact, happened. As I struggled to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and took another shower to try to wash away the persistent sweat of intense anxiety, Jamaicans were tweeting glorious, bright photos…of a huge rainbow, which stretched from one side of Kingston to the other, complete and immaculate.

One end of the rainbow – the strongest colors at this end. A pot of gold? (Photo: Judy on Twitter)

They were sharing photos from different angles.

Through a peach-red dawn, the rainbow emerges. (Photo: Twain on Twitter)

I missed the rainbow altogether – but my fellow city dwellers were thrilled and lifted up by it, on a mid-week morning the day after Valentine’s Day. It made me think about hope again. Was this a sign that all would be well?

Rainbows are associated with the Christian Old Testament, and they evoke a mysterious, spiritual response in many humans – although we know that a rainbow is a prism, a spectrum, made up of light and sun and rain and cloud. It fades as quickly as it appears. However, the rainbow is really important in indigenous cultures too. In fact almost every culture, from Australian aboriginal tribes to Mayans to Arab cultures to Hindus, have myths, legends and beliefs all tied up in a “rainbow shawl.” Rainbows are also an emblem of Pride and diversity, for some years now (and there are other rainbow flags in different cultures).

One of my favorite Jimi Hendrix albums is “Rainbow Bridge.” And one of Bob Marley’s most poignant songs has the lines:

When the morning gathers the rainbow

Want you to know I’m a rainbow too

So, to the rescue here I am…

Bob Marley, “Sun is Shining”

I have realized that hope is a part of healing, because it looks forward to a happier, perhaps healthier day. And besides…

“It’s hard, since Noah, not to see a rainbow as a sign of hope.”

Sheldon Vanauken
Last week’s rainbow. (Photo: Judy on Twitter)

6 thoughts on “Hope and healing, and rainbows fade quickly

  1. It looks like a double rainbow in the last photo. In 2019, I was lucky enough to see 3 rainbows at the same time in the sky. I had only ever seen one at a time previously.


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