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Recognizing The Rainbow Over Your Head

Isaias and I were shopping at Tuesday Morning yesterday, and a song called "Rainbow" sung by Kacey Musgraves was playing over the sound system in the store. Neither Isaias nor I had ever heard it, but both of us found it to be a beautiful song.


As I listened to the lyrics, I found something profound in them:


When it rains, it pours But you didn't even notice it ain't rainin' anymore It's hard to breathe when all you know is The struggle of stayin' above the risin' water line

Well, the sky has finally opened The rain and wind stopped blowin' But you're stuck out in the same ol' storm again You hold tight to your umbrella Well, darlin', I'm just tryin' to tell ya That there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head

If you could see what I see, you'd be blinded by the colors Yellow, red, and orange, and green, and at least a million others So tie up the bow, take off your coat, and take a look around

'Cause the sky has finally opened The rain and wind stopped blowin' But you're stuck out in the same ol' storm again You hold tight to your umbrella Well, darlin', I'm just tryin' to tell ya That there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head

Oh, tie up the bow, take off your coat, and take a look around Everything is alright now

'Cause the sky has finally opened The rain and wind stopped blowin' But you're stuck out in the same ol' storm again Let go of your umbrella 'Cause, darlin', I'm just trying to tell ya That there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head

Yeah, there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head Mm, mm, mm It'll all be alright


I love the metaphor of this song.


That someone doesn't realize the storm they have been weathering is over. They still think it's going on, that it's blowing and raging around them. They are so used to trying to keep their head above water, they don't realize they no longer have to. They can let go of their umbrella and take off their coat and see the rainbow above them.


I love that one line, "If you could see what I see, you'd be blinded by the colors."


That's the trouble when we think we're in the middle of a storm: our perception sometimes won't allow us to see that things are not as bad as they seem or that even if they are, eventually the storm will be over.


Here are some fun facts about rainbows:


  • Generally, rainbows usually indicate that the rain has passed. Most often when they appear, it will be sunny with the rain clouds in the distance. Not always, but most often.

  • In nature, rainbows appear due to two ingredients: light and water droplets. So technically a rainstorm would have had to happen, but the sun (or some other light source) would also have to appear in order to create a rainbow. So both the storm and the breaking light are necessary to create this beautiful, colorful thing.

  • Rainbows appear directly opposite of the sun. Two people standing in two different places will not necessarily see a rainbow in the same location. It is the relationship of each person to the sun that determines where each individual sees it.

  • The sky beneath a rainbow appears brighter than the sky above it.

  • Rainbows are actually full circles, not semi-circles, although you can only see the full circle from high up—for example, from an airplane.

  • Because rainbows are based on the perspective of the viewer, a person can never reach the end of a rainbow.

  • Rainbows are more likely to appear in the summer rather than the winter.

  • Some ancient Greeks and Romans believed rainbows were a path to the gods.

  • Rainbows are often used to symbolize peace and harmony.

  • In the Bible, the rainbow symbolizes a covenant or a promise God has made to Noah and his posterity to not destroy the earth by flood.

So the things that stand out to me is that one needs the sun (or in my belief system, God or Jesus Christ, his Son) to see the promise of the rainbow. Outside of a religious context, one needs light in order to view a rainbow.


But one also needed to have the storm to view and appreciate the rainbow. Perspective seems key in viewing a rainbow. Where we are in relation to the light determines where and if we will see the rainbow.


The rainbow is an intangible, unreachable, yet clearly viewable and unending entity when we can see it.


A rainbow represents things like peace, harmony, calm, beauty, unity, good fortune; a pathway to the gods or God; a promise from Him. When I see or recognize one, it almost feels like a beautiful little miracle or gift. A double rainbow feels doubly so.


When I was reading Kacey Musgraves' thoughts on the composition of this song, this stood out to me:


"['Rainbow'] ended up being a song for anybody with any kind of weight on their shoulders." I also found it interesting that she also hoped it would serve as an anthem for the LGBTQ community (who, by the way, use the rainbow as a symbol of diversity, pride, and support):


"'Rainbow' is something that I can dedicate to [the LGBTQ] community, but also to anyone who has any kind of a weight on their shoulders." I also found it interesting that Shane McAnally, one of the co-writers of the song, said, referring to some of the challenges we are currently facing, “It’s almost like a higher power knew what was coming and that the world would need this at some point. It definitely feels like somebody else was guiding the pen.”

The song has almost a hymn-like quality to it, and as shown in the above video, it's almost as though the narrator of the song is trying to serve as a lifeline to those who don't know they don't have to endure the storm anymore.


That isn't to say that there aren't trials and storms that people are enduring and fighting in their lives. Of course there are. But I also find that some of the storms people are dealing with are sometimes made worse because they don't realize they actually can "let go of their umbrellas." Some people choose to live in a storm of their own design—maybe they can't let go of a past wrong; maybe they perceive things to be worse than they really are; maybe they are addicted to the drama of mucking about in the wet and cold and mud; maybe they honestly don't recognize that they don't need to stay in that stormy condition. And so I invite you, dear reader, to take a look at whatever's holding you back, whatever's got you caught in its clutches, whichever of life's storms you feel you have to endure, and let those things go.


Look up. The storm's over. The rainbow, with all its beauty, love, and promise, is right above you.




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