The color of our lives

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

It is a curious truth that the myriad of colors in our world have a direct bearing upon our emotions, which affect us both psychologically and physiologically.
Long a touchstone of designers, the latest color pallet of the season instructs the masses to consume the latest fashion, bauble, vehicle, and so forth. Many among us may readily recall the days of green avocado, or red poppy appliances, which certainly are out of vogue today.
John Ruskin, living in the 19th century, said, “Color is the most sacred element in all visible things.” Perhaps Mr. Ruskin’s statement is a bit too effusive, as color is part of our creation and is not a part of Christian worship. Yet, in the places we generically call, “houses of worship,” great thought and design went into the selection of the colors of both the exterior and interior. All are chosen to influence the moods of those assembled, and bring them closer to the intended purpose.
Often people’s personalities and attitudes are compared to colors. “Boy, does David have a sunny disposition,” providing a descriptive comment, evoking a bright and upbeat personality of a yellow hue. At the other end of the spectrum, “Gee, I would really like to get to know Jennifer, but there is always a black cloud hanging over her.”
Each comment quickly conveys a figurative emotion and perception of the subject at hand. Of course, there are a myriad number of colors, which could be assigned to those we know and also to ourselves. Life would be so simple if we, and all the others of this world, were of a single hue. Yet we are not, as we change our colors on a whim, or the effect of circumstances, or the vagaries of our minds, in an instant.
One of the greatest challenges, of humankind, is the correction of the rampant jealousy found within all of us.
Consider the color of a vibrant green, as in the “green eyed” jealous monster.
Here is the antithesis of compassion, consideration and grace.
No longer content with the magnanimous generosity of God’s many gifts, our jaws tighten and palms sweat over the injustice of it all. Somehow we envy, deep down in our souls, the possession of another’s. It may be a car, a boat, fancy clothes, house or, you pick it. It could be jealousy connected with a better relationship, or some condition more akin to our own unrealized ideals.
Given enough fuel, this color green readily turns into the red of rage. Given the underpinnings of feeling justified, the potential of what is yours, should be mine, allows for the criminal justification of behavior, as the recalcitrant’s reaction is frequently incarceration with multi-colored stripes the new standard.
What then, is the color of our approach to God? Do we approach with calming blue, the indigo hue of despair, the emotionless pabulum beige of rote mindlessness, or the scarlet anger of a sense of injustice, to us, by God himself?
The color of our relationship with our creator is our own hue; individual and personal.
While we may point our fingers at the many people who have come into our lives, we are deluding ourselves if we believe they are the culprits of the off-putting shades of our behaviors and personalities. It is we who are responsible for our individual houses and the color ascribed there, both within and without.
We are also responsible when the time comes for a refreshing repaint.

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

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