“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, 1807
I took my walk this morning as usual, even though rain was threatening. Sunday mornings I often have my longest walk of the week–three miles or more. Out of my quiet neighborhood down Broward to the very busy Saxon Blvd. There is a long stretch on Saxon that is slightly uphill and I enjoy that change in grade. This morning at 7:30 a.m big dark clouds were billowing in from the NW. Even though I really wasn’t paying attention, my spirits were as dark as the clouds. I was walking looking down at the sidewalk a few feet in front of me. Being quite clumsy I usually look down when I walk and particularly so on this upward grade. I was brooding about the unsolvable physical and emotional pain that so many of my closest friends are experiencing now–friends with cancer, friends with chronic illness that will never be rectified, friends with hopeless family situations, friends with terminal emotional pain. I pray and I pray, and many others pray too, and there rarely seems to be any hopeful answers or amelioration for the pain. And, as for me, I guess I’m doing okay physically, but right at the moment I’ll go boo hoo at the drop of a hat. I should feel lucky not to have cancer or chronic physical pain–and I do thank God for that–but my chronic pain is despair.
Then I reached the end of Saxon and prepared to turn left back toward my neighborhood. I looked up into the billowing clouds and there it was–the faintest rainbow I’ve ever seen. And I don’t recall ever having seen one in quite such a gloomy stormy sky. It’s arc was not much more than 25 or 30-degrees and it’s colours were barely visible amidst the dark gray. But there it was. I guess it was a God-wink. For a moment I could hear Him say, “Carl, there is always hope.”
And for a moment I felt thankful and hopeful. It got me in touch with scenes from my childhood and this poem by Wordworth. I realize the arc of my life has been long and strange, and when I think about it, I have no excuse to feel anything other than hopeful.