Sometimes I find myself looking for a little more color in life.
For Mother’s Day, we made a trip to the small college town where my parents live. While there, we took a brief jaunt through campus and got to observe how university students cope with a beautiful day — when it falls on the eve of final exams. It was inspiring, really. Students were outdoors throwing neon-colored frisbees, rolling bowling balls down neat, orderly sidewalks, and sitting with friends under the soft shade of flowering trees. And if that wasn’t enough, we spotted rollerbladers sailing together, in pairs, like loving swans circling in the fresh breeze of a new season.
It was difficult not to be just a little jealous.
Because on our end of the universe, life looks very different. In our particular solar system, for example, regular life revolves around the blazing, fiery heat of a four year-old and a three year-old, seemingly separated by endless light years, though measured, technically, in just 13 months. In this world, we daily battle against the fluids of spilled milk and urine, as well as the solids of lost toy bugs and stolen Lego blocks. Furthermore, the sounds accompanying these events often erupt with the force of deadly astroids slamming into planets. This is everyday. This is life.
And it’s further complicated because Dad likes to orbit in his own selfish introversion, while Mom likes to revolve in an outward-facing extroversion. We often long for an alternate universe which transcends these daily, charted coordinates of time and space. Even just a place where we can hear ourselves think. But please understand: we absolutely love our children and our little celestial home. We wouldn’t exchange it for any other galaxy. But tucked away down in the heart, there’s always a hidden longing for an another home which encompasses the square footage of eternity with a little more precision.
Life just doesn’t spin as it should most days. It’s messy, noisy. Too busy. But that’s all right. These entanglements are necessary because they have a transcendent power to free us from selfishness and pride. It’s how grace works. And, truthfully, it’s our only shot at surviving in this universe.
But yesterday was special. You see, our closest family members live two hours away, but most of our family lives another 18 hours away. (Okay, add Chicago traffic.) Given our arrangement, we were especially grateful to have the opportunity to leave our kids with my parents for a few hours. And so we just left town, even without knowing where we were going.
While driving, however, we soon beheld an unexpected road-sign appear in the sky, shining with the brilliance of a rainbow. And my wife and I do not take rainbows lightly in life.
There, tucked away off the interstate, we found a quiet table to feed our spirits. There was even time, together, to savor a steaming café americano, a panini with melted Brie and apple slices, and a small creamy cup of frozen custard. Time slowed to the pace of laughing and gazing. In rare and simple moments like these, the colors of God’s promises touch me with a good and holy vibrance, reminding me that there is indeed a grace that transcends this messy and busy world.
Yesterday, I was just thankful that He used an old, wooden arrow to point the way.