“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” Van Gogh
Yellow has been my favourite colour for as long as I can remember. My grandma had a yellow car and a yellow house, a burst of colour matching her vibrant personality. She sparkled, bright and sunny and fun, with plenty of adventure and enough love in her heart to heal the world. I thought the secret to her joy must have something to do with yellow, so I announced my colour would be yellow, just like my Grandma’s.
When extraordinary moments happen in my life, I think of them as “yellow moments,” an unexpected joy sent to bless me. Almost always, bursts of yellow come like joy missiles when my soul is shrivelled like a raisin and at its worst.
When storm waves come in one after another and I find myself choking on the debris life throws in my direction, I have learned to search for yellow. A few weeks ago, I ordered a book from Amazon called The Persistence of Yellow by Monique Duval. How could I say no to this book! I escaped to Chapters to devour its pages and let yellow thoughts comfort my topsy turvy heart. As I settled in, a group of teenagers yells, “In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning,” which is the title of the book I wrote in 2014. I laugh silently, and continue to read short, life-giving funny passages: “She had a conference with her angels before breakfast. Decided how to spend her day: Climb trees. Run fast. Sing at the top of her lungs. Do dishes tomorrow.” I love this book! Duval describes heart feelings with such detail and beauty: “What does it feel like? Well, she said, leaning over to us like a secret, ‘it feels like a gust of wind blowing inside your heart. It feels like bright yellow paint.” My bad mood is shifting, and I am wondering why I am not outside climbing trees with a heart that feels like bright yellow paint. The book had me at its proposal to do dishes tomorrow.
My friend Karen Hayes loves the ocean, so when I came across this bright, sparkly yellow thought I had to send it to her: “That’s when the rain came down, and we ran—laughing hard, sides hurting—and there was no shelter for miles. So we just sat down in the sand and watched the ocean swallow the sky.” I sent it to her via messenger, and within seconds she replied, which started an hour dialogue between the two of us. Our rambles are what I call living room adventures. We dream big and go to places in our imagination without even leaving our houses. It’s brilliant and fun and life-giving. Karen loves the ocean quote because anything ocean causes her to flip out. Now we’re both experiencing yellow together which is way more fun than experiencing it by yourself. Friends make everything brighter. We are both enjoying this adorable little book with its nuggets of joy. I continue to flip the pages and realize this book truly is a joy, wonder book wrapped in yellow. My heart leaps when I come to a passage about dandelion seeds. Dandelion seeds represent hope and remind me that nothing ever dies because as soon as something dies, it is multiplied. In the broken moments of our lives, seeds are planted in the very rich soil of God’s kindness and when those seeds are showered with his love they bear much fruit and multiply. I see the seeds of my son Zach’s life being multiplied all the time. Although he died at 13, his life is healing many. Monique Duval captures my heart thoughts perfectly: “Hold the pale green stalk up high. And then run hard so the wind will catch the wings of dandelion seeds. Let them fall like sparks, like stars, back to the earth.” I imagine the seeds of Zach’s life falling from heaven to earth, touching the lives of people…the persistence of yellow.”
My laptop is open beside my bright yellow book, and I see the three dots reminding me Karen is typing a message and then it comes: “And that is sooooo you…running and spreading those seeds!! What are the odds this is the book you picked up!!! Who loves you? Besides all your family and friends…GOD DOES!!! Now I am being empowered to keep going and not give up. Friendship heals the ache inside. Shared moments begin to heal, and laughter rises. She reminds me to run hard so the wind will catch the wings of the seeds and spread yellow throughout the earth. I’m back on course. I don’t feel like a victim of life circumstances anymore. I tell her about my dream of lying in the back of a car, looking up and seeing the words, “God is yellow.” At that moment she sends me a picture of a bright coloured rose, and says, “you have to hear Coldplay’s song, Yellow.” I log onto youtube and listen and start crying so uncontrollably it is embarrassing. Not dainty crying, but really ugly crying. Not the kind you want to be doing at Chapters. I’m regretting the cheap mascara I bought because it’s smearing and I look like a wreck. When I listen to the song, it’s like Jesus is singing to me and it’s so overwhelming I can’t compose myself.
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.
I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called "Yellow."
My heart is so impacted by the lyrics; it’s hard to put into words. I tell Karen I have to leave Chapters because I am out of control. To that she responds, “Soak the pages of your journal with ink and tears. Bathe in the love and light of God.”
I went into Chapters gray and sad and came out vulnerable, but bathed in yellow. I am blessed with friends who walk alongside me during dark night of the soul moments until the dark turns to radiant light.
Here is a poem I hope blesses you and brings yellow into your life:
“May the blessing of light be on you, light outside, light inside.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows like a great fire so that the stranger may be warmed at it, as well as the friend. And may the light shine upon your eyes like a candle in the window, bidding the wanderer in out of the storm.
--traditional Kenyan prayer
I just finished doing this late night post and Karen just sent me a message: "Sleep tight in a yellow cocoon." I pray the same for all of you.