Little things: colors

I roll to a stop at a traffic light on Lake Street. While I wait, my mind flits a thousand miles away to things that don’t matter—and won’t matter—even tomorrow.

On my left, a woman, holding a sign, stands on the sun-soaked median. The driver of the car in front of me lowers his window and extends a hand to her. A tattoo sleeve decorates his arm; man-made beauty sprawled on God’s skin. And I smile at the gift he gives her too. Maybe it’s just a few coins, but a grin explodes her features, blasting away the darkness around her.

At once, gratefulness and regret needle me. I’m happy I don’t wear monochromatic lenses; the Asian woman squeezes the black man’s hand, and I get to watch the scene in color. But I’m disappointed I didn’t capture the fragile exchange on camera to keep as a reminder for the days when I forget.

That evening, my neighbor sends me a private message. “I have something for you. It was my grandma’s, but it looks like you. I want you to have it.”

She hauls a cardboard box across the alley to my house and unloads its contents onto my dining room table. Delighted, I clap at the sight of it all. She knows me well. A collection of ceramic bowls. Pretty, like her, and in different colors—like the two of us. I feel that familiar pain in my chest that only gets better when I hug her.

The stoplight and the dining room table. The wide range of beauty I see humbles me, and it doesn’t end here. Even heaven needs different colors to be perfect.

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.


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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.