I came across an old picture this morning from four years ago at Grand Canyon. It was taken while I was on a trip with my mom just after Ellis died. When I took it, I was standing on the observation deck crying bittersweet tears of joy mixed with sadness and awe. It was February, and it had been sleeting and snowing on and off all day. We had been out in the middle of it, being pelted with ice just so we could get a glimpse of the Canyon. All at once, the clouds parted and there was the rainbow and the blue sky for a few moments before the clouds closed in once more.
I felt like my family had been through so much in the previous year and a half, losing my father and my husband to cancer. Mom and I had been through the valley, and there we were, standing together, still deep in our grief, looking at one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. And there was the rainbow, the symbol of hope, in the middle of that storm. I took it as a sign at the time that things were going to get better, the storm was over, and there would be blue skies from that day forward, but I missed the symbolism of the storm that moved back in. Looking back on that day, of course, I can see it because I know what happened in the following two years. I still had more mountains to climb and beautiful peaks to observe and deep valleys to travel as I found and lost yet another love and also lost Mom. And I’m thankful that, at that time, I didn’t know everything that was to come because I’m not sure I would have moved forward from that observation deck if I had known. I might have missed so much that is good in my life order to avoid the pain.
Looking at this picture now reminds me of the moments of hope we are given along the path we travel and the need for us to look for and savor every one of them because they give us reprieve, courage, and strength for whatever lies ahead. There will be storms, there will be difficulties, we can be assured of that, it is a part of life, and we can also be confident that there will be moments of sunshine, laughter and rare and wondrous beauty even within the storms. If we fear the storm and refuse to walk out in it, we also miss the beauty. There is always hope. Look for it, find it, choose it, and experience joy and strength. This journey, and the people we meet along the way are worth it!