It was Sunday morning before church when I saw it. It was resting in midair, between the rose bushes and our neighbors weathered garden shed. I thought it was an aberration of some kind – a mirage or a hologram or, God forbid, an hallucination. Perhaps it was a distortion of a lawn ornament — I was looking through the wire mesh screen of the sun porch, after all. But no, it was indeed a rainbow, a segment about 2 feet in length and 18 inches wide, floating in the spray of the neighbor’s lawn sprinkler.

What a breathtaking sight! I walked out of the sun porch, down the wooden steps, and across the dry grass toward the rainbow. It didn’t move or disappear as I feared it might. I took a short video of it, hardly daring to believe it would actually show up on my phone, but it did. I stared at the rainbow as it hovered. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I marveled and thought,  “Look how close God’s promises are to us. They are invisible most of the time but they are as real as this rainbow and as beautiful.”

Eventually, Ron, our neighbor, turned off the sprinkler and the rainbow disappeared. Still, I have the jewel-like image stored on a video clip, which you can see at the bottom of this page, and it is in my memory and in my heart, too.

A  dear friend, Tracey Finck, and I have been encouraging each other to look at life with a view to recognizing God’s “holy possibilities,” but the visit of the rainbow brought an additional way to look at our journey here: with the assurance of God’s holy actualities. God’s promises, which are as ancient as the sign of the rainbow, are not simply elegant theological statements, but they are also beautiful, dependable, and mysterious holy actualities.

And that’s a happy thought.

Love Calling

Macy's Department Store in New York City.

Image via Wikipedia

I had lived away from Seattle, my childhood home, for less than a year  when I walked into a department store in a big Midwestern city. I was heading for women’s clothing on the second floor when I thought I heard someone call my name. I was in a hurry, but I stopped, and looked around. I was very puzzled because I was sure no one knew me in that city – certainly not well enough to call my name out in a public place. And yet, the voice was one I recognized somehow. I surveyed the area quickly to see if anyone looked familiar, then, feeling rather foolish and confused, I continued on my errand.
I finished my business and left the store following the same path by which I had come, rushing down the escalator and through the store aisles – I had a bus to catch and couldn’t be late.  Once again I thought I heard someone call my name.  Amazing!  Now I had to find this person who knew me, even if I missed the bus. I took time to look through that area of the store, making eye contact with several of the sales people, searching for…who? Looking around with attention, I realized I was in the perfume department, where I didn’t see any ONE I knew, but  where I spotted some THING I knew – the perfume Chanel #5. This was the fragrance my Aunt Lillian always wore, and I realized it was this fragrance that was ‘calling my name’ as I came  through the store. I was stunned.
 It was then that I learned the power of scent, which has a voice of its own, one so strong that it can make you ‘hear’ words and stop you in your busy tracks to look for someone you know and love.
Have you ever had an experience with a scent that has surprised you? Knowing that scent can have such a strong effect, what might you do to employ its power? Aunt Lillian had what some fashionistas call a ‘signature scent’. Do you have one?