This has been a lovely winter thus far with almost weekly snowfalls that blanket our world in stark but pure whiteness.
It seems clear to me as I walk my dogs in the early morning light, or in the light of the evening sun, that the only real color that is consistently visible is in the reflections off the ice on the river or the icicles hanging from my roof. I think that is why so many of us choose to adorn our houses at Christmas time with bright lights and festive colorful décor: to outshine the starkness of the pure white blanket that covers us for a couple of months each year.
For me, that also means bright pillows on my couches and a bed made from fabrics from all over the world; kitchen cupboards that house dishes, pots and cooking utensils that brighten up any meal; walls in every room painted lovely earthy colors that bring the beauty of the outside, inside no matter the season.
I seek color. I see color. I long for color. As an art major, we learned what colors complement each other and what colors actually clash and take away from the beauty and integrity of the other. We learned which colors are actually in the same family though maybe vary in shade and intensity a bit. That white (light) is actually the presence of all color and that black (darkness) is the absence of all color.
Seeing color around us
Having recently celebrated the feast of the Epiphany when the kings were brought out of darkness into the glorious light of the newborn Christ, I was made aware again of how we are all challenged and asked to recommit, to come out of the darkness and into a new light — to see, to embrace, to love and to welcome all of the colors around us. As someone who intentionally brings color into my world, I had to question myself: Am I really looking? Am I really seeing the color around me?
Color comes in the faces of our friends and family, neighbor and foe, immigrants and refugees, child and senior, black and white, woman and man, disabled and able-bodied, Muslim and Christian, educated and working class, English speaking and native speaking, wealthy and in poverty, serviceman and woman, veteran and civilian.
As you can see, there is more color around us than a box of 64 Crayola Crayons and therefore more color than we can imagine possible to lighten and brighten our world, our life and our hearts.
In less than two months we will celebrate springtime when colors naturally start to burst forth from the earth ready to showcase their glory to the world. Let’s allow the colors of those around us to burst forth and show and share their glory with the world, to leave the starkness and darkness that might be shrouding them from becoming what they are meant to be.
Elizabeth Neville is director of the St. Cloud Mission Office, 11-8th Ave., South, St. Cloud.