Signs and Wonders

27/09/10 | Posted by Poppy

I saw the most amazing rainbow as I drove down the motorway last Saturday. My second thought (the first one was keep your eyes on the road dummy!) was: my pre industrial ancestors would have said, that something in the sky that was so unusual, was a sign from God. Was it?

 Rare Rainbow

I found a picture online of a similar phenomena and it is still stunning. In the late afternoon sun, after a long day stuck inside a conference centre the real thing was like something out of a science fiction movie as it looked like there were twin suns behind a cloud with a rainbow on the edge of the dimmer one.

Now of course this rainbow was a result of the light of the sun shining though cloud but I haven’t been able to get away from the sense that there is something more to it. Maybe my ancestors weren’t so dumb to believe that sometimes we can see signs of God being present in nature or even the equivalent of emails from the almighty.

But to see signs, or even just wonder at rainbows you need to take your eyes off the road. Now that has been difficult recently. I’ve been working really hard and trying to work harder and smarter and find more hours in the day to do all the things that need doing. I know it isn’t healthy but harsh financial reality can’t be avoided. But there is a price to be paid. I nearly didn’t see that rainbow.

Sometimes at work people are like rainbows. The demands for services and resources are relentless and everyone wants their problems to be sorted now, yes right now and forget everyone else. But then very occasionally someone smiles. Recently one lady that I had been struggling to communicate with as she had no language looked me in the eyes and touched my face. In that gesture which I think meant thank you, the rainbow came out from behind the cloud. It would have been so easy to dismiss the moment and rush off to the next person but for once I didn’t.

The image of the rainbow is one of hope. In the Bible the rainbow is a sign from God to Noah and his descendants. It is to mark God’s promise that the floods that overwhelmed the earth will not come again. I’m one of those people who thinks that the Biblical flood is a memory of ancient floodings that has been brought together into a story that looks for a deep truth - that bad things happen but that there is always hope. And what better way to express that than in broken light. Those ancestors of ours knew a thing or two even if they couldn’t explain the science.

So I’m taking that rainbow as a reminder that there is more to life than work. It reminds me that there are people, as well as things that make me stop and look and wonder if only I give myself permission to look.

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