It is bittersweet here.
Our immediate family is dealing with another major loss this week. Intertwined with this fresh grief are memories of other times, other places, of those who have gone before.
Accompanying those memories, one particular song plays constantly in my head. Bill was in a rock band when he was in high school - the original Nirvana - and while he usually played trombone, when they did Chicago’s Colour My World, he sang. (You can find the lyrics here).
Just as the song says, with the passage of time, and as experience shapes me, I realize with deeper understanding and clarity what matters most. The events are over, many of the people gone, but there is meaning there that holds true and travels on with me. As Padraig O Tuama says in his poem Narrative Theology #1, “The answer is in the story/And the story isn’t finished.” (Deep gratitude to my dear friend Cindy for bringing this poem to my attention!)
Those memories are precious and life-giving - splashes of color in a stretch of somber days - reminding me that regardless of what captivates our attention in any given moment, ours is not a one-dimensional, monochrome existence. It is always both/and. Beautiful and terrible. Filled with sorrow and joy.
Even as I grieve, I’m grateful for all the ways my world has been colored with hope and love.
I’m grateful for the deep green and muted gold of the fields surrounding the home we shared, for the care with which Bill tended them, and for the love that grew there in addition to the crops…
…I’m grateful for the variegated shades of plant life surrounding the ponds at Paul and Pearl’s: the grassy hills, the vegetable garden, the apple and chestnut trees, the oaks and maples, the delicate lavender blooms and deep purple pods of the Hyacinth Bean Vine that framed the front door; for the shining light of their lives, and for fishing trips with Terry or the grandkids on blue and gold summer days.
I’m grateful to have been able to travel with Bill and see the aquamarine water pouring over Niagara Falls, the icy blue wonder of Alaska’s glaciers and the rainbow of tulips and flowering bulbs lining the canal in the flower market in Amsterdam…
I’m grateful for the orange and red sunsets that painted the western sky outside the kitchen window of the farmhouse, and the vivid hues of our friend Jim’s balloon that landed and launched in the yard from time to time, which Bill - even though terrified of heights - loved to ride in.
And I’m grateful for this man, and everything he meant to us.
And you, Dear Reader? What is coloring your world with love and hope today?