Beauty seen is never lost, God’s colors all are fast. –John Greenleaf Whittier
Sparrows danced joyfully on the telephone wire. The blue, cloud-dipped sky sparkled with radiant light. The fragrant floral arrangements spilled abundantly over from their sturdy vases.
We who had come for her memorial service were seated in this light-filled atrium, embraced by the beauty of the world around us as we celebrated a life lost suddenly and unexpectedly. When her best friend spoke, she shared indelible memories that the two neighbors created together-family vacations and weekend outings, antique treasure hunts and entrepreneurial endeavors, Starbucks tete-a-tetes and conversations about life.
Just the week before this memorial service, Peggy and Renee had promised each other that they’d open a new chapter in their lives, a time for reconnecting with old friends, those who had shared volleyball bleachers and elementary-school hallways. The friends whose lives, like your own, become consumed by family commitments, returns to the workplace, and family schedules that erase the hours for spontaneous coffee breaks or hour-long phone calls. Renee told us how Peggy would want us to reach out to our friends and family, to rebuild and strengthen those bonds. And how we should all find time to explore the world outside of our front doors.
With that call to action playing in my always-cluttered head, I phoned my parents on Thursday night and asked if I and at least one of my kiddos could come visit–make the five-hour trip south to reconnect. The answer was: “Come on.” We hadn’t seen each other since our family Christmas celebration in mid December. While I cherish my gene pool’s annual gathering, we’re an expansive crew so one-on-one time with any family member is practically impossible. My parents (AKA the grandparents) are in especially high demand.
With a “yes” tucked in my back pocket, our spontaneous trip to Edenton, North Carolina was on. Twelve-year-old, Cady, decided to come along. Just the two of us. I picked her up early from school on Friday, directly from my own half-day at work, and off we went. She pulled out her book, and I cranked up Jaime Grace, Matthew West, and Royal Tailor, quickly cycling through the CDs and then happily stumbling on Christian radio stations, AirOne and K-Love.
I was in a driving groove; my mind quieted. With my tinted Oakleys shielding me from the waning sun’s intense glare, I began to see the colors.
The fire-engine red tin roof on the white clapboard farm-house, a photograph begging to be taken. A brown and white paint nibbling at new growth inside the split-rail fencing.
The rusty orange clay soil, bumpy from tilling earlier in the day, its powerful scent temporarily invading our four-wheeled sanctum.
Daffodils, dressed in rain-slicker yellow, prancing carelessly in perfectly aligned, VDOT-planted rows.
Alien green fields aglow with grassy spring abundance. Cady and I couldn’t get over the vibrant verdant color, deciding it was nature’s reply to Astroturf.
Pale blue skies, dotted with marshmallow clouds that hovered effortlessly over the landscape, showcasing the colors, both God-breathed and man-made, that rested in fields, along roadsides, and in front yards.
Gray and white and chocolate horses, in paddocks along the route. A trio of chestnut and white calves romping in a meadow. Black-speckled ponies conversing in the pasture.
Indigo, violet and orange, stacked one on the other, pressing against the salt marsh as the sun painted its finale across the fading skyline.
Traffic delays and Burger King stops notwithstanding, we pulled into Mom and Dad’s just after dark, honking loudly and repeatedly to announce our arrival. We had a marvelous weekend, beginning with a golden yellow macaroni and cheese dinner. A rambling Scrabble game, aided guiltlessly by an Ipad dictionary app. A father-daughter bike ride. A mother-daughter-granddaughter shopping trip into town. Two Saturday meals out–Nothin’ Fancy Cafe for lunch and Tommy’s Pizza parlor for dinner (both delicious). On Sunday morning, we drove the 20 minutes back into town for the early morning church service, made earlier by Day Light Savings Time’s arrival. Then back to the house for a quick breakfast of pancakes and bacon before getting back on the road heading home.
I’ve seen my fair share of rainbows–even a double and inverted–but this weekend, I was blessed to witness God’s promise one striking color at a time. Red cardinals, boxing with one another for space at the feeder. The first bluebird of spring, perched on the highwire, undoubtedly searching for a place to call home. A metallic blue cruiser, carrying my 77-year-old Dad and Senior Olympian, along his daily four-mile trek (his ever-so-slightly winded daughter puffing alongside). Seven tan Scrabble tiles, lined up to spell URINE, and the shared laughter of three generations as our word choices grew ever more challenging.
It was a weekend lavishly colored with love.
Letter #9 goes to my parents, who on less than 24-hours notice welcomed us with outstretched arms.
I think now is the time to embark on more spontaneous adventures. Put down the must-dos and pick up the want-to-dos. Let’s get going people. God created a colorful masterpiece for us–step outside of the lines of your life and experience a new kind of rainbow. One you build color by color, moment by moment.
Peggy, thank you for all the moments we shared. Even now, you inspire me. I will get out and experience the beauty of this wonderland we call home. You, my friend, are deeply missed.
What a privilege to be here on the planet to contribute your unique donation to humankind. Each face in the rainbow of colors that populate our world is precious and special.–Morris Dees
Be blessed–and be a blessing,
P.S.–In honor of rainbows and road trips, check out this recipe: Colorful Vegetable Fajitas.
Click above for this week's inspirational tune: "You Lead" by Jaime Grace