As my children grew, left home, and my career shifted to become more part-time I found the desire to paint and create flourish. Eventually, I braved an acrylic painting class. To my surprise, I was not the only “older” person in the class–there were all ages present!
It wasn’t long before I found my preferred medium–watercolor. Thus began my love with watercolor painting. The more time I spent painting the calmer and more content I became. Painting became a form of cultivating a mindful quiet place where not much else consumed my mind. Clutter seemed to dissipate, and peace settled in. Now I have included painting into my regular soul care activities.
A couple of years ago before my journey with cancer struck, I enrolled in a watercolor class at a nearby peony plant farm. Waking to a cool, drizzly rainy morning, I donned my raincoat, umbrella, and hat. Persevering despite the cool, wet weather I concentrated on painting my favorite flowers even though I had to hide under an umbrella–feet wet and chilled to the bone.
As the storm and clouds cleared I saw a beautiful rainbow forming. The colors cascaded over the flowers highlighting pretty reds and yellows of the flowers under its glowing arch. It took my breath away.
The rainbow is a beautiful thing to behold. And … it can become a reminder–we are not alone–because God can use the storms of life to bring beauty and hope into our hearts. The flowers, sprinkled with raindrops, reminded me that hope can be found during and after the storms of life despite the accompanying tears and suffering.
Loss, grief, sickness, and suffering are regularly tied together with hope especially when we remember to look up and gaze at the One who brings true hope in every circumstance. No one is immune from life’s difficulties and losses–we all experience them. Difficult times are important. All big. All challenging–not one more than another. They have a way of changing us permanently as we learn to find new ways of living and coping. The perspectives we cling to or use as the foundation to process our experiences can help or hinder us in this growth process. The perspectives from our own past, family traditions, faith traditions, and previous experience and ability in coping with difficult situations and losses influence us. As we consider our circumstances through this lens we must find ways to keep what helps and release what doesn’t help.
The rainbow has become a sweet reminder that God is ever present, waiting for us, desiring to journey with us. He is a faithful God. He is a good God. He wants what is best for us–despite the circumstances in which we might find ourselves.