Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reflections on Blue

Blue is my color. I always find myself somewhere on its spectrum. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m always sad. Let me explain what I mean by reflecting on three different shades of blue.

Note: When speaking of color, there is always a danger of casually equating White with Good and Black with Evil. It is problematic because white and black are also used to describe race. When I speak of “black” or “darkness” in this post, I am not speaking of a color in the sense that we normally understand the word. True darkness is the absence of all light and therefore of all color; for example, scientists use the term “black holes” to describe phenomena with gravities that are so strong that not even light can escape.

Sky Blue

Think of a cloudless summer sky in the early afternoon. The sun is almost white, and the sky itself is so bright that you can only see a faint hue of color. For me, that color is the color of happiness, energy, and joy. But despite the brightness, that touch of blue still remains; reminding me—even in moments of pure joy—of the gravity of life. Even if every relationship is fulfilling and synergistic, if every project goes smoothly and successfully, and if every destination is reached; even then, it doesn’t change the reality of ongoing injustice and oppression in the world. Like gravity, this realization pulls me down hard; but it also has a grounding effect. I find meaning (and even beauty) in it. Instead of removing joy, it gives it a splash of color. It gives me a reason to move forward.

Midnight Blue

Think of a blue sock or shoe that is so dark that you mistake it for black. Midnight blue is almost as dark as charcoal, but still has a tiny hint of color. It’s the shade of blue that looks and feels like utter hopelessness. When I feel that hopelessness, I visualize it as an inky dark sludge coursing through my body—even reaching my fingers and toes. It is physically heavy. For me, this “sludge” is midnight blue rather than black. The touch of color represents the spark of life that fights against being extinguished. I still feel that spark of life in the seemingly complete darkness.

Tragically, so many lives are devoid of even midnight blue. Driven to despair and utter hopelessness, they see suicide as preferable to living in pain. Some of those who are driven to such a desperate option are young people who are told they are sexually broken; this turns my midnight blue heart to FIERY RED. Just like the emotions associated with sky blue, these emotions compel me to act.

Ocean Blue

Think of a tropical location with white sand and clear blue water. The sun’s reflection sparkles on the ocean, and the transparency of the water allows you to see deep below the surface. Ocean blue is the color I strive to be. I want to be transparent—without masks, without hidden motives—in order for others to see me, not someone I pretend to be. Transparency makes true love and connection possible. It makes life risky, difficult, refreshing, and meaningful. Sort of like the ocean.

A friend once told me that he thought the verse “Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matt 5:4) referred to those who are able to bring outside that which is inside. Meaning, those that mourn are those that can authentically express their emotions and live life more fully human. This verse came to mind as I meditated on the color blue, and what that color has come to represent linguistically. Feeling “blue” has come to mean feeling sad. But similar to how my friend saw “mourning,” I have found new meaning to being blue. Blue is a reminder of the realities and complexities of life, it represents hope in the darkest of times, and it aspires to transparency and authenticity. It means more to me than just being sad.

What about you? Do you also resonate with the color blue? Do you have a different "life color”? What do you think about my friend’s interpretation of “mourning”?

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