Last summer, Dan and I spent a week in Colorado as honeymoon. We landed in Denver, got into the rental car and started driving as rain poured down in sheets. The driving was slow, navigating unfamiliar highways in a severe storm and getting used to the elevation.
But then the rain stopped and the sky cleared and right in front of us was a double rainbow, as vibrant and colorful as can be. It almost caused us to drive even more recklessly as we oohed and ahhed and pointed out the windshield.
Last night, as is evidenced all over Facebook this morning in case you missed it in real time, there was a faint but complete rainbow in the post-rainy sky over southeastern Michigan. I called to my eldest two children who were on the verge of sleep to come down and witness it out the kitchen window. Asher tried to take a picture, but it was too faint to show up.
Rainbows are one of those mysteries of life. A brilliant slash of painted sky so unbelievable that every single time, we stop and stare, gaping at the glory above us.
In the Torah, the story of the rainbow is that it is God’s way to say to the Jewish people that no matter how horrible we are, He will still stand by us.
Sort of a harsh message. And one that I don’t think resonates with any of us for when we see a rainbow we jump up and down like little children, believing that anything is possible and the world is a wonderful place.
But it is a wonderful place. Yesterday, in the summer heat, racing around town between work appointments and kids’ swim and golf lessons, I texted my husband, “We have a great life. A really good life.” And he texted back, “I agree!”
The beauty of the rainbow is that it makes you be present, right here right now. It is the being present, the noticing of moments, that makes us feel so alive. It’s cliche but true that we have nothing but the present – the past is gone, the future doesn’t exist. All that is real and true is NOW.
Some people do daring things to force themselves into the present: rock-climbing, car-racing, dirt-biking, surfing, scaling mountains, motorcycle-riding. You name it. Whatever gives you that exhilarating thrill, that I could die but I won’t feeling, that’s forcing you into the present.
In our society it takes a lot to get there. We are so busy planning and running and worrying and agonizing. What if we abandoned it all, just to focus on what’s right in front of us?
It may be a day of cliches, but it’s also true that when you do the work, everything else works out.
So today I dare you to focus on the here-and-now, be right here, be very present – see how that feels. See what you can do to hold the moment like a flower in your hand, like a fleeting rainbow that you can never touch but which colors your moments ever brighter.