Last Thursday morning, as I was driving toward Newton from the east, I noticed a rainbow shooting across the sky from south to north right over First Street. The sky was a beautiful blue with white fluffy clouds all around. However, part of the rainbow was missing. Then my eyes caught a glimpse of a small part of it on the northern horizon, which would have been the end of the rainbow if it was completed. My vision was limited in seeing the whole rainbow.
In light of today’s uncertain times, this brought a smile to my face. By definition, a rainbow is “caused by reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light in water droplets … and always appears in the sky directly opposite of the sun.” (Webster dictionary) Now, maybe I am trying too hard to make a connection, but this seemed rather metaphorical to me. As I thought about the uncertain times we are experiencing right now, I felt a sense of peace and serenity by the rainbow’s very presence. That is what a rainbow is supposed to offer us. Also, how interesting that the rainbow always appears directly opposite of the sun. When we are in the heat of the moment or stressful times, the opposite of feeling stress is to find bits of light to give us encouragement and hope along the way. And just as part of the rainbow seemed absent, there are times in our lives when we find it difficult to see the light. But light and hope is what we offer in our work here at Prairie View. How can we offer that same light and hope to ourselves?
Recently Jessie Kaye, Prairie View’s president and CEO, sent an email in which she suggested balance between our work and self-care. Taking care of ourselves is not a selfish thing. Rainbows are caused by reflection of light and I would encourage all of us to take time for reflection on how we can care for ourselves. Sometimes our vision becomes limited to seeing only what is in front of us. But if we reflect on the “droplets” that comes to us each day in perhaps unexpected ways, we might just see various colors to brighten our day.
My prayer is that we all find comfort in knowing that God is greater than all our hearts and minds and that we are not alone on this journey called life. May we dare to love ourselves enough to be the rainbow in other people’s lives.
Karen Andres serves as Prairie View’s chaplain.