Thursday, August 16, 2007

Over The Rainbow (reprint)

I wrote this post a while back... and I thought I'd post it again... just thinking it over once more... I was walking before dawn this morning, and the song "Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight" by Amos Lee was playing in my head. I quoted a part of that song in this post. You can hear the song by clicking the title above.

But sometimes,
We forget what we got,

Who we are.
Oh who are are not.
I think we gotta chance,
To make it right.

Keep it loose, Keep it tight.
Keep it tight.
-Amos Lee

I have forgotten what I’ve got, who I am. I cannot be everything to everyone.

When I was a kid, about once a year, The Wizard of Oz would appear on our television set. It was a special event; so rare it almost seemed a holiday.

At the time I thought it was just a story about a fantastic adventure to a wonderful place. As a young adult I became aware of enough history to see the allegory about moving off the gold standard, but back then it was simply a wonderful story, a fantasy.

My English major education shows me more important aspects of the story.

It’s a story of someone wanting more from life. Someone tired of the ordinary, the dreary life of work. A place where the whole world seems to be cast in sepia tones.

Dorothy thinks there must be a place where things are different. A place where things are beautiful. Perhaps beyond that occasional arch in the Kansas sky, the rainbow:

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around

Heaven opens a magic lane

When all the clouds darken up the skyway

There's a rainbow highway to be found

Leading from your window pane

To a place behind the sun

Just a step beyond the rain

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high

There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue

And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true
--“Over The Rainbow"
(as sung by Judy Garland

Brenda feels like that. She is frustrated, and angry, and tired.

I understand. I am tired too.

Raising these boys has been a tremendous amount of work. And now, as we sprint (or stagger) toward the finish line, the time when they should be ready to go out into the world, it seems they are not at all ready.

Brenda fears we will never be done with the job.

Our parents didn’t work so hard at it. Neither of us were really raised. We were grown. We were provided with food and shelter. Nothing more. No guidance, no training, no practice runs at the skills we would need. As first borns our place was to take up the slack in raising our siblings.

There was no leisurely move into the world when we turned 18, it wasn’t in the cards. Brenda went to business school before the month after high school let out (she met me soon after). I was told to be moved out by my 18th birthday (even though I wouldn’t graduate high school for another two months).

Today her frustration is tangible. Some days are better than others. A roller coaster for both of us. (She is in a good mood tonight, sweet, generous.) But underneath everything is the tension about how much further we will have to go in raising these two boys. I suspect that when the job is nearly done, she will go seeking that path over the rainbow. She will be within an arm’s length of graduating college and will take the freedom that education offers to flee this burden. She wants desperately to run away from her life.

I'm in love with a girl,
Who's in love with the world,

Though I can't help but follow.

Though I know some day,

She is bound to go away,

And stay over the rainbow.

Gotta learn how to let her go.

Over the rainbow.

--Amos Lee

I don’t know what to tell her anymore. I have tried, and I have failed. I am a very imperfect person. I try to ease her struggles, to honestly see my shortcomings and grow into someone that provides all she needs. But I cannot conjure up that brilliant world beyond the rainbow.

Sometimes we forget who we got,
Who they are.
Oh, who they are not.
There is so much more in love,
Than black and white.
Keep it loose child,
Gotta keep it tight.
Keep it loose child,
Keep it tight.
--Amos Lee

I have failed her in making my work too great a priority, in focusing too sharply on things outside our home. I seek to bear as much of the burden of our home that I can, but I cannot change her heart.

Her disappointments I cannot heal. I cannot change the fact she cannot bear children. I cannot change the fact we were misled regarding Jeremiah’s abilities. I cannot change the fact our first child died. I cannot change the fact we must diligently watch Jeremiah to ensure he does not play with fire. I cannot take away her guilt and shame over the burning of our church. I cannot stop the constant references to the rebuilding of the church. I cannot take away her anger at God, argue theology with someone who does not accept the premise God is good.

I want to keep her close, love her forever. Perhaps that is how it will turn out, but I have doubts.

When someone sees life in sepia tones, and a sparkling rainbow appears in the mind, a portal to a wonderful place, a place without worry or cares, it is very tempting. I understand.

That portal isn’t really there. It is an illusion. There isn’t any way to get over it, or under it or through it. There isn’t an end to it. The pot of gold isn’t there. It is in one’s heart... or it isn’t.

Oh, Brenda... a rainbow is a circle. Much of it may be invisible, but it is still a circle. The center of that circle is ourselves... or the shadow of ourselves. If you look closely at the exact center of every rainbow you will ever see, you will find that it is framed exactly on your shadow’s head. You are the center of it... it is your viewpoint which carries the rainbow and as long as you have a body it will always be so.

But if you turn around, put your back to that fanciful imaginary portal, you will find you are looking at the sun, the true source of the power of the beauty which is framed around you. The rainbow is the earthly halo bestowed upon your shadow.

And just as the sun places this metaphoric crown over our heads, the Son places a spiritual crown on each of us.

I can’t prove it. I can’t point it out. But I know it is there. He does love us, and He is good.

I am a scientific man in many ways, and I understand how people can view a rainbow as simply the refraction of light through glistening raindrops or virga or mist. But I can also understand how people can marvel at such things and wonder at the miracle it holds. Not of its existence, but of the wonder that we can see it as beautiful. a dog can see a rainbow. Perhaps not all the spectrum we see, but enough to see it is there. But a dog never feels a rising passion within his breast, the emotion we call awe.

Logic can not prove the existence of God. Just as logic cannot explain our sense of beauty. Those are discernments of the heart, not the mind.

Ah, honey... I love you. I don’t know where this will all end. But if you can’t see the invisible blessings which streams earthward I am incapable of pointing them out to you. You must see them with your own eyes, with your own heart.

You wonder how God can let so many hurtful things happen in the world, happen to you. I cannot answer such questions.

But I know that wherever you may go, the rainbow will always be outside of your reach.

I’m tired. I am having trouble keeping this smile in place. I will always love you. I won’t try to force you into a mold, into anywhere you do not wish to go. This means that if you want to chase after rainbows, that will be your own journey.

Dorothy chased her rainbow... and found that everything she wanted was always where she began.


bjk said...

He is becoming 'enough' for you.....I weep with you this morning.

curious servant said...

This comment, and all comments which reference this comment, will be deleted within 48 hours.

I have made a mistake in posting a part of my life on this blog where people who are perhaps a little to local, able to affect my wife and this situation, can read it.

So, I am moving a part of my mental meanderings to another location.

If you are someone who cares about me, wishes to pray for us, and would like to know where to follow, please email me so I may make that choice and let you know where to look.

email me at this address:

I will then reply to each person and let you know how you can put your shoulder to the task I am struggling with if you care to help.

God bless all of you.

I am grateful and love you.


Susan said...

I saw your comment when I went to check in on our mutual friend David in Texas. My heart goes out to you and your wife. I went through similar struggles as Brenda. SOmetimes the work and stress of motherhood seems unbearable. After coming close to losing my marriage, with alot of hard work we made a new commitment to eachother and our relationship is now on a whole new level, filled with care and mutual respect. Sometimes you have to loose something before you can realize its value. I pray that Branda finds her rainbow and that it leads her right back to you and your family. God Bless.

Vicki said...

Praying for you, Will. Do you have some close men-friends with which to share your heart's burden? May the Lord provide you all that you need today.

His grace,

Terry said...

Dear Curious Servant

I neeed to see this rainblow today!!
It reminds me of all the promises of God...Thank you so much....Love Terry

becky said...

in my prayers


Anonymous said...

praying for you, CS.