Finding Color in the Gray.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve already read part of this, but I felt like sharing it with a little more detail here.

This week, I finally started venturing out of the house again. I know, I know – I got out the day after surgery to take snow pictures. But then I stayed almost exclusively in bed for the following seven days. In a way, I felt much better right after surgery (albeit in pain) than I did for the week following that (albeit in no pain.)

I was weepy. Super weepy.

My hormones and emotions were all messed up (as surgery and anesthesia always do to me), and I was feeling guilty and gross about doing nothing (because I was in little pain, but if I tried to do anything I was immediately exhausted), and was feeling all the sads because I wasn’t hardly going out of doors, and when I was, it would be after Chris got home from work, which would be after dark, thanks to our super dark Alabama Decembers (the sun sets at 4:40, y’all. Four. Forty. Being on the bleeding eastern edge of a time zone is the worst.)

But on Monday, I took a timid trip out for a careful walk with the kids. We went to Aldridge Gardens, and slowly strolled around the lake. I utilized every bench along the way.

But I carried my camera and took a few pictures. And it felt nearly normal. And I felt nearly alive again.

One of the pictures I took was at a fountain, and I simply liked the look of the wet, smooth, gray stones.

171218 No color Rocks IMG_7535 s

I liked the texture of glossiness, along with the simplicity of the photo. It was nearly a naturally black and white photo – something I don’t take very often.

While I was editing, just being silly, I increased vibrance (which is kinda like saturation but better) to 100% – just to see what would happen. Would it make the grays more gray and the blacks more black and the whites more white?

I was astonished.

171218 Aldridge Gardens IMG_7535 s

All those hues were somehow always in those stones, hiding behind their overwhelmingly gray facades. How did Photoshop even identify and differentiate between them all? I couldn’t see but scant differences in the rocks with my eyes.

The transformation of the photo felt like a parallel for what was starting to take place in my mind and my heart.

Life feels gray sometimes. In my case it was temporary and expected, but that didn’t make it feel any less gray. Having anesthesia and major surgery right at the point that the days are shortest and grayest was bound to make me cry on a daily basis. Other people have much, much worse life situations causing their lives to feel gray. And the gray is only made grayer by occurring during the holiday season – the time of year that’s supposed to feel happiest and most vibrant. High expectations and grayness do not mix.

Grayness, by its nature, always feels inescapable. It feels as if it’s always been there and will always be there. Like there’s no way that any color could possibly be left.

But it is.

I promise.

The color is still there, hiding in that overwhelming gray fog, just waiting for the vibrance to be cranked up again. And when you are able to step outside and the world finally has color again, it is an unspeakably glorious feeling. It makes the color feel more colorful than it ever has been before.

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~ John 1:5

“In Your light, we see light.” ~ Psalm 36:9

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Comments

  1. Oh, wow, I was not expecting this at all! Not your post….but the emotion I felt (instant tears) when I got to the end. I have no idea why it hit me so hard. I haven’t been feeling sad or blue. Something about it….the truth of it?….hit me deep down in my soul. I wrote something similar for a Lenten devotional booklet once….contrasting a beautiful spring following a long winter. Hope you’re feeling better. (A side note: As I was re-reading what I wrote, I was thinking “Hmmm…maybe I am sad or blue but I’m just holding it in.” This will be the first Christmas without my mom and I don’t think I have fully grieved yet. Her name was Joy so I am reminded of her often! As I was thinking all this I started hearing the song that was playing on the radio in the background that I hadn’t noticed before. The line I heard was “I cry tears of joy at Christmas…” I have never heard that song before.)

    • Thank you! I’m so sorry about your Mom…I can’t imagine how hard that is. I hope that you are able to find joy instead of sadness in your memories of her as they come up this weekend!

  2. Jen near STl (5 more months!) says:

    Thank you for this! It expresses in such a wonderful way what I’ve been trying to get across to my teenage daughter in a much better way for her visual mind!

  3. Barbara Cain says:

    Beautiful and encouraging, Rachel. Preach! I am dealing with a cold and have eaten too many carbs due to the season and Priesters. Feeling hopeless and blue but know it’s a temporary thing. Thanks for the visual reminder. PS I love shiny objects like those rocks.

  4. I always enjoy reading your posts, especially today. I needed this. My life has been gray since my husband died Dec 31, 2016. As I’m heading towards the one year anniversary of his death, things are especially gray. Thank you for the reminder that there is beauty underneath.

  5. What a beautiful analogy!

  6. ❤️

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I really needed it! Would you mind if I printed these pictures or are you planning to sell them along with your other prints? I could use a visual reminder that the color is still there under the gray.

  8. Beautiful.

  9. Beautiful words, Rachel!

  10. Lauren Kelley says:

    Love this so much and it’s so needed right now during this gray period of my life. Thank you…

  11. I know I commented on your Insta post, but this is one of my favorite posts you’ve written. Something about Christmas brings out the “blues” in me, and I get annoyed with myself, because I really have nothing to complain about. I miss my grandparents, and I’m already starting to feel nostalgic about my own kids growing older, and then I have very typical in-law issues that flare up at holidays, but really? There’s a lot of people who are facing much worse.

    • Thank you! I know what you mean. I think it’s some combination of the dark season, the busyness, the expectations…just so MUCH that crowds out the season. I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

  12. Because perhaps it will add a little extra sunshine to you day… the sun sets here at 3:57 today. Yes, three….
    Enjoy the sun and it’s all downhill from here.

  13. Thanks, Rachel. A beautiful post and just what I needed to read.

  14. Love love love this! Such an awesome picture of the way God infuses our lives with color…whether we can see it or not! I feel you with the dark. Our sunset is at 4:04 tonight. But we’ve passed the hump and now it’s getting brighter from here on out!

  15. Big hugs to you Rachel! It’s hard enough dealing with the darkness, holiday expectations, surgery, illness, etc. one at a time, but you have them all at once. I love your photo and sentiment. I may also print the picture. It’s an awesome, yet silent reminder of the good hiding under the gray. Wishing you many blessings in the new year.

  16. Michele R. W. says:

    What an incredible post…and picture! After I looked at the colorful picture, I looked at the first one again and seemed to see it differently and could actually pick out some colors very faint. It’s funny how we can change our perspective seeing things through different eyes…which is a wonderful reminder going into the new year! Blessings to you and your family in 2018!

  17. That was wonderful! I hope that you are fully recovered from your surgery and are enjoying the glimpses of spring that keep popping up. Thank you for sharing your soul with us.

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