Follow by Email

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Over the Rainbow

When most of us remember Judy Garland we recall her role as Dorothy, the little Kansas farm girl in the movie The Wizard of Oz. How she sang the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow! It is hard to describe the sweetness, the hope, the pathos that simple melody evoked when Judy sang it. 

Next to life itself there is nothing quite so compelling than the desire to have a happy life, a life where all the positive, pleasing conditions one can imagine are ours. Do we need to bake the cake of life without all the required ingredients? Must we always have something missing? Are we required to be ignorant before we get smart? Those who declare we wouldn’t be able to appreciate good without its opposite might have a point. I’ve bucked that theory in the past. It seems like the old pinch-yourself-because-it feels-so-good-when-you-quit theory. Yet I’m willing to wrestle with the idea a bit more. 

Is that why we find in the Biblical story of creation a “darkness...upon the face of the deep?” After God had created all did He have to cover it up with darkness and then add the essential ingredient of light to illumine it so He could see and enjoy what He created? No, it doesn’t say God created the darkness. All it really says is that perfection needs to be seen, understood, made plain, sometimes earned and sometimes received and accepted by the grace of God in order to be enjoyed. 

“There she goes again,” my readers who’ve put up with me this long may be saying. Always asking questions, always trying to figure things out. Well, yes, without apology I admit it’s what I do most mornings. Here I’ve been given another beautiful day and I wonder why I’m so fortunate. I think it’s because of the gift of gratitude. Without gratitude the gifts we’re given slip out of view and only darkness remains.

I haven’t before thought of gratitude as light but, like light, gratitude shows us what we have to be grateful for and doesn’t get discouraged by the darkness of what we think we lack. It knows it can shine anywhere in that darkness and reveal more of God’s perfect creation, just as much as we can handle. Wow! 

As the song implies, there’s a reason why we don’t enjoy more of that sweet land of light and love Dorothy sang about. We picture it as being “somewhere over the rainbow.” We are plagued with the lie of limitation that would always keep us short of our desired end. We have to go somewhere else. We have to get something more. We are always reaching, reaching. Often we think the something we want is impossible. Even in the midst of agony we can be grateful. How? By letting our light shine on something good. I believe gratitude is not just a means to an end, it is the end itself. Dorothy found this out. She found her over-the-rainbow-home right there at her little Kansas farm home. 

I remember my childhood wonderings. As I lay in bed looking up at the bare ceiling and wondered what was in store for me, as I spread myself out in the little red wagon and looked up at the sky, wondering what was out there, as I first felt the longings of love with songs coming over radio waves in the darkness of my bedroom, I’m still wondering. It’s more fun to spend my mornings that way than listening to the latest weather report or the news of some shooting or other “newsworthy” commentary. 

I’m wondering lately why old folks seem to remember the distant past so much better than the near past. Maybe it’s because we are coming home to the place where we started wondering, the place where we first wanted to know, where we first tried to peek into a future. Maybe we’re making it around the cycle of life. Wondering about life, looking at the future’s blank ceiling, the sky’s endless blue, it is a very good thing to wonder at any age.

No, I’m not looking to fly over the rainbow. I’m just glad to be home, standing on my own two feet, sitting here at the computer, eating my once a day half piece of candy, and listening to the music station of oldies. Come to think of it, that’s what started this whole discussion today. I went to sleep last night with music from that station, so naturally when I clicked the remote it went there this morning, and the first thing I heard was the clear instrumental version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I  sang along with the words, remembering Dorothy and her adventure over the rainbow. 

Now I’m not saying I would turn down a trip to another planet, but I’d need a guarantee in writing that I could come home whenever I wanted to. Instantly. Then again, I might say, “No thanks! This is enough of heaven for me." For now I'll save seeing the whole round circle of the rainbow for some future airplane trip. I still need a good dark night's sleep every day.


  1. Thank you Joyce for your lovely creative writings and I hope one day to paint your portrait.
    Best wishes,

  2. Thanks for your comment, Marianne. Good of you to read my blog. Best of everything to you too! Joyce