We are accustomed to June gloom in Southern California, but this year we also have had May Gray! The skies are overcast from the time we wake up until midday or beyond. We get an inkling of the intimations of mood that those who live in more northern climes experience, and how it can affect their dispositions with seasonal affective disorder syndrome. It seems symbolic of the times in which we are living as well.
The news is full of doom for the vulnerable and gloom for the faithful who are wounded by the insensitivity and cruelty of others. Headlines are made daily about the disappearance of of familiar places and institutions, and the imagined replacements with something more new and shiny. Lovely, friendly people are stricken with accidents and ailments that are game changers in their daily sojourn. The outlook is not rosy.
One of my favorite children’s books is by Arnold Lobel called The Great Blueness. A wizard lives in a town in which all is gray, covered with the Great Grayness. He is sure that this is a sign that something is wrong, so he descends to his gray cellar to see if he can concoct something that will remedy this. By mixing, probing and experimenting with what he already knows and has, he discovers first blue, then yellow, the red, one at a time, all of which he shares with the town to their amazement and delight. They discover shade and hue, brightness, passion and energy with the diversity of colors. They even find that they can take the colors to mix and discover new colors and shades and tints, bringing variety and contrast. all parts of life that they can experience.
That story has prompted me to dig and delve in my own cellar of provenance, words and images which have been life-saving to me in the past–from sacred texts, from mentors and companions, from practices which I have put aside for awhile. What can I recover and put to use in the Grayness that surrounds me and our world? What mixture of resources can i call on to give me imagination, energy and love to brighten the Grayness in others? I am dusting off my gratitude journal to begin with, prompting me to pay attention every day to the gifts that surround me. I am perusing the Psalms yet another time, finding both voices that articulate the Grayness and voices that bring color to the Hope that in in process of coming true.
And I learn from the wizard in that Gray Town that color is not mine to hoard and keep for myself alone, but it is to be shared with others, so that they can find their own combination of colors that lightens their Grayness and keeps them going when the gloom seems to be winning. I am so grateful to live in the ages of rapid connection through phone, internet, social media, that allows me to respond to and share with those given to me the colors that have brightness and glory and beauty.
Today turned to June, and I expect we can see some June Gloom on some days. But I feel more hopeful that I can wend my way thought that gloom and the other days with the colorful practices that keep me tethered to the Holy One and keep me energized by the Spirit to share hope and love with others. The Grayness cannot overcome the light ultimately! Thanks be to God!