Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Color Series: Red

Taking a bit of a blog break right now, and re-posting the Color Series while I'm away.
Hope you enjoy:

The red crayon was always one of the shortest crayons in my 64-color box of Crayolas. It was my favorite color in first grade, the one I betrayed the day my class voted on popular colors by raising my hand for blue at the last moment. I figured blue must be the best color if everybody else loved it so much.

But red is an old friend. It is passion and strength and life, and these things are staples. It is the shining thing flowing through each of us, without which we could not live.

Red is vision, and dreams—the life blood that sustains us through hard times and hard work. That road you follow that for some reason you are sure was meant for you, even if other travelers think you're crazy. Red is full of the energy you get from doing the things you love. It is also perseverance; the thing you keep doing because you know it is good, even when it hurts, or drains all your energy away.

Red is not always pretty, and never trifling. You know those things that you hear about happening to other people—the ones you know you're not strong enough to bear? They are often soaked in red. I embraced my third pregnancy as a blessing from God. I took it as a sure sign of grace and hope and promise in the middle of a difficult time for our family. And then I began to bleed. I know how common miscarriages are, but I have rarely heard women speak of them. I was not prepared for how hidden, how quiet, how raw, it would be—all the hope and comfort I had attached to this child ending in a toilet while the rest of my family slept.

Red can be overpowering. I mostly like it in small doses, running through everything the way it runs through my veins, strengthening, nourishing, sustaining. Sometimes it is like that—safe and contained. Sometimes, though, it rises up all around you and throbs. And then you learn that grace is red, too. The days surrounding my miscarriage were wrapped in grace along with the pain. Have you noticed how often those two need to be attached? I let my older two children play. I got out all the glitter and glue and construction paper, even the Play-Doh, and watched them make a huge mess, and for once I didn’t care about cleaning it up. I only wanted to be with them, and have it last forever. Here was my hope and comfort, even—especially—through the hurt.

Imagine the spectrum without any red at all. How lifeless it would seem. There would be very little warmth. No heat, no passion, no blood, no grace.

I wonder how we would live.

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  1. I struggle with red. I think as a quiet child I was always afraid that red was a little to strong for me. A little too bold for my shy self to handle. But I have a red kitchen now. A deep, raspberry sort of red. And I like it. It's more comforting to be bold than I thought it was.

    Beautiful post, as always.

    1. "It's more comforting to be bold than I thought it was." I love that! Those are words that will stay with me, I hope.

      A deep, raspberry red kitchen sounds beautiful. Like a close, comforting sort of place to be. And that's something I love about mixing colors--how introducing just a little bit of something else can change a color's character so very much.


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