A Rainbow In the Clouds
Seek one. Be one.
“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!” — William Wordsworth, 1802
There’s a peculiar sense of familiarity and uncertainty about rainbows.
Whenever it rains and there’s a bit of sun shining, it’s natural to look to the sky to try to find a rainbow.
The dark clouds begin to clear — or in some cases, the rain may still be falling — and we crane our necks in all directions to see where that colorful display of light might be.
We’re not always guaranteed to find one, though. The location of the sun with respect to the clouds (and us) might be wrong, or the angle could be just a bit off.
Rainbows, while familiar, aren’t certain. But that glimmer of hope amid or following a storm is enough to make us want to go rainbow hunting.
The search for reassurance amid uncertainty is a natural response. Humans crave control, and when we find ourselves reeling in a world in tumult, we grasp for anything that can give us a sense of hope.
Scientifically and logically, a rainbow is nothing more than the refraction of light through water.
Symbolically, it is much more.
I’m preparing an ebook on uncertainty that will be available to all regular subscribers of Timeless & Timely. Future ebooks will be available to members of the Ampersand Guild only (paying subscribers).
For Judeo-Christians, the rainbow is a sacred bond between God and humans, initiated after the flood that Noah and his family survived in the ark:
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” — Genesis 9:13
In Greek mythology, the rainbow represented the goddess Iris, who acted as a messenger between humans and the gods; the rainbow was a bridge from Earth to Olympus.
Maya Angelou recounts an old African-American song from the 19th century:
“When it looked like the sun wasn’t gonna shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”
We can imagine the circumstances under which this song was written: enslaved people searching for a glimmer of hope amid a lifetime of cruelty and inhumanity.
She explains that she has had people who have given her hope in her darkest times and whom she can bring with her in her heart in times of need — “I’ve had rainbows in my clouds.”
We’ve all had rainbows in our clouds. People who Mister Rogers said:
“helped you love the good that grows in you…people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life…those who have encouraged us to become who we are.”
If you remember that feeling of support and hope that you’ve experienced, you can carry it forward to others who are in need — to “be a blessing for somebody,” as Angelou said.
Who is your rainbow?
For whom are you a rainbow?
Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.
P.S. you might also like to read this:
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