“When I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature…” (Genesis 9:14-15)

Over the course of the my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I was witness to over a dozen rainbows. Even though rainbows are simply a refraction and dispersion of our sun’s light by water in our atmosphere, each rainbow had its own uniqueness, its own beauty.

Rainbows only appear on damp days. The right combination is necessary – when rain either slows down or stops and the sun breaks through the clouds. Such beauty is always welcome after an hour or day of hiking in the rain. Friends can attest that when I see the sun appear after a storm, I am running around looking for a rainbow. What can I say? I love rainbows.

What can rainbows teach us? Each color of the rainbow not only stands vibrantly on its own, but also blends to form new colors and gradients. The poet Aberjhani writes that “There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colors of the rainbow. And no fear either. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful.” It is as if the colors of the rainbow are bound by a covenant of natural law, respecting and raising up each color’s uniqueness while also blending to form a whole, a oneness.

Each one of us has our own distinctive characteristics. When we cultivate the right attitude about ourselves and each other, we have the ability let our individuality shine while also honoring one another’s own identities. We don’t need to dampen another’s light simply to let ours shine. Like a rainbow, we can celebrate our different bands of light, while acknowledging that we are simply one part of a diverse and colorful Universe.

The rainbow allows us to remember that we are all connected. When we see that another’s light is being hidden, whatever the reason may be, we can help them break through the clouds. That is the power of the rainbow. I think Maya Angelou summed it up best: “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.”

May we each learn to know that we are a blessing in this Universe, for ourselves and for one another. Keep on shining, friends.

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