Blue --a powerful and paradoxical color. Earth is often referred to as the blue planet. Sea and sky dominate its swirling mass. Cobalt and cerulean and azure blues can take your breath away. Copenhagen and indigo and navy and royal are capable of inciting gasps of awe and wonder. Ice blue, baby blue, and all blues dipped in neighboring greys, can captivate with their soft sweetness, and their stately exhibitions of serenity.
And yet, all blues, even a tiny patch in a wild winter sky, can also swarm with sadness. Blue is the color of nostalgia and remembrance and longing. Blue best expresses the soul’s yearning for meaning and purpose and point. Blue, by far and away, tells of a soul confused or lost or lonely, a soul sighing with the yearning to understand and know, and a soul seized by the brevity of time and Life and Self. Blue is indeed the color of both sacred and sad.
I find it easy and common these days to see folks whose very being bears witness to sadness. They seem detached and indifferent, overwhelmed and on edge, and they have eyes which are always scooting or staring. We all at times wear a shroud of sadness, or a swirling cape of the blues. Our lives are a litany of loss, and a shrinking of value, along with the futile chasing after the winds of fame and fortune and celebrity. Deep muddied blue is the color of cynical.
Most of our sadness is quite real, only a smidgen is a shameless pout or an adult tantrum. We are sad because Life and our lives can be so damn difficult. We rarely ever get a break from grieving. Our doubts are bloated and our hope emaciated. We look hard to locate enthusiasm and excitement, but our days often feel flat – like a line on a heart monitor.
We have known so much brokenness. Dreams ripped to shreds, health worn to a frazzle, relationships faded and frayed and feuding. Families like shards of glass from a once proud piece of crystal, accidentally, or maybe not, knocked to the floor. Whole communities and churches wither like dried up river beds, cracked and creviced and parched from a lack of love and mercy.
We must embrace the soul’s sadness, or those times it is rocked by the blues. They are a must of Life. They are required by the contract we call being human. Yet, we must never surrender to them as the foundation or base of our being. Sadness and the blues must not become our most dominant feature, or a daily assumption or prediction. Sadness and the blues must simply be one of the songs our soul sings, or even wails, often late at night and eerily alone.
At times we must be courageous enough, or creative enough, to choose to replace our sadness with gladness, and transform our skies from limp lifeless death white into bright beautiful blue. We do have the capacity to signal the soul that it is high time we smile, or dance, or sing, or hope, or play, or give, or serve, or attend the party -- which is held every day. Joy is always lying in wait, even in the midst of the bleakest landscape, and happiness is not only just around the corner, but hidden out in the open all the way around the block.
What makes the difference is quite simple. Paying attention, choosing to notice the life we are living, and being aware of how we wish to mature on a daily basis. It is true that Life shocks us with a sucker punch now and then, or shows its ability to knock us flat, but most of the time Life is not a battle or a war. We are just being asked to show up, be present, be awake and alive to the infinite possibilities, and to decide FOR the day. It is a day the Lord made, and we can rejoice and be glad in it. If we are looking and seeking and listening, we will locate those moments which make it so worthwhile.
A child giggles from their toes to the top of their head. Dark clouds strike a pose for the sun, so that it can reveal God like shafts of liquid light. A single tulip sits in a vase on a table, and an old woman reads her Bible. Someone tells a joke, and bursts the bubble of despair and replaces it with child-like silliness. A first snow tumbles and twirls down, and coats the earth in the hide of a zebra. Spring casts a spell of lime green and pretty pastels. Autumn ignites the fires of nostalgia and announces the need to give thanks and remember. And on we go…moment after moment…day after day…Life remains a spectacular ordinary miracle.
Listen closely to the sighs of your sadness. They may tell or tutor you on what you are missing, or needing, or secretly desiring. Feel those blues in your bones, and know their wisdom. Loving and living and believing are all scary journeys, and we cannot emerge from the march unscarred. But choose, yes choose, to grin at the Grace of it all. Find the speck of goodness or kindness which arouses your hope. Dig down deep for the will and the want of actualizing your dreams. Be calm in knowing you are never alone, and your God or Higher Power will carry you through the toughest times of all.