What I fear and desire most in this world is passion. I fear it because it promises to be spontaneous, out of my control, unnamed, beyond my reasonable self. I desire it because passion has color, like the landscape before me. It is not pale. It is not neutral. It reveals the backside of the heart.
Terry Tempest Williams
I choose joy. It might get messy. It might be difficult to imagine, it might be hard to realise, and it might be even harder to hold onto. But as Henri Nouwen says,
We can choose joy … choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise … or choose despair and be destroyed by it.
(Bread for the Journey, 38)
I choose joy because I know I want to live with an open heart, open towards my God, towards others and towards my self. I know this choice to journey along the road to Joy will need perseverance. There will be darkness. There will be difficulties. There will be diversions. I will need to cling onto hope for all I am worth, if I am to recognise the promises, the opportunities, that can arise out every encounter and every experience. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong suggest that,
… in many cases the difference between success and failure is determined by nothing more than our sense of what is possible and the energy we can muster to convince others of our due. We might be doomed not by a lack of skill, but by an absence of hope … we need tools that can preserve our hopeful dispositions.
(Art as Therapy, 13)
During the midst of this year’s global pandemic, colour suddenly burst forth as the sign and emblem of hope, compassion, gratitude and solidarity. The rainbow’s spectrum appeared everywhere, claimed by religious and non-religious alike.
What is it about this array of colour that represents such a well of emotions? Keren Dibbens-Wyatt offers me this contemplative perspective:
A promise ribbon falling in a cascade of colours through the air as the sky dries its tears and finally lets the sun shine. A bridge between sadness and joy, arching across the divide between creation and re-creation. Your partialness just as much an illusion as your sudden appearance, when of course your spectrum is always there and you are just one visible section of God’s wedding band, round and perfect, a sign of covenant grace encircling those he loves, people and animals, to whom he says, “Never again” and “I am with you always.” Hovering hues, high and holy, a sneak preview of the kingdom to come, like a glimpse of God’s petticoat sweeping through the blue. A breakthrough of that world to this. An eternal beau of brightness, almost unbearable in its simple vibrancy, so that it must depart into the invisible soon and fade. Those who have eyes to see, let them see.
‘Day 37: Rainbow’, Garden of God’s Heart, Keren Dibbens-Wyatt (37)
spectrum’s shimmer. iPhone image.