Friday, January 21, 2011


It started with the “rainbow nation” and ended with a rainbow. In the beginning of December, my head was a disheveled mess of thoughts and my heart cluttered with emotions. By by the end of January, I feel like I'm in a much healthier place. I think much of this has to do with my time in South Africa. I spent the last three weeks of December retreating, vacationing, Christmasing and relaxing with MCC friends and colleagues around South Africa, which is often nicknamed the “rainbow nation” due to stated embracing of multiculturalism and multicolored people. While there, I was talking with one of my new good friends about my past experiences in Mozambique, and how sometimes I felt as though words couldn't even contain or describe some of the complex emotions of pain, regret and brokenness that I was feeling. She suggested that in the moments when words fail, other mediums, such as color meditation, can pick up the slack.

As it turns out, she was right. I began seeking out colors to intake new experiences and define what was already there. Being in a gorgeous country certainly helped. As did being surrounded by dear friends and colorful characters throughout my travels. I was able to find solace in the endless blue of the ocean waves, comfort in the fresh blue that came from my meditations on what peace means in a violent world, and joy in the perfect blue hues in my nieces' eyes over a Christmas Skype video call home. The green of tree covered mountains was refreshing and the green of wildebeest covered hills on our safari was incredible, while the green of internal growth blossomed into forgiveness.

This new perspective for perceptions continued as I transitioned back into the culture and pace of Maputo. Although, this time the colors took on different meanings. I traded in green of deciduous forests for the green of fabulous acacias strutting their stuff in clusters along the city streets. Thanks to the color coded chapa system, blue has been labeled by my transportation of late: the blue Museu—Xipamanine bus line, where joy comes from the little things of the cobrador whistling a showtune tribute to Andrew Lloyd Weber, and from the cobrador who screams “MUSEU! MUSEU!” outside the apartment window (which makes me wish that English-speaking transportation agents would also yell “MUSEUM!” to lure people on board). Among other things, brown in this city for me connotes the disgusting bodies of cockroaches who think they have made the apartment their domain, until they are met with my Chaco or Nadia's hardcover “My Happy Book” and my war cry of “Die! Die! WHY WON'T YOU DIE FOREVER?!” laced with eloquent profanity.

Last week, I was again remembering all of the unanswered questions that still linger around my life here. Questions such as: “when am I going to find a new host family?”, “what does my job look like in the upcoming months?”,'”why does God have to use such heinous situations in order for us to grow?”, and “what is that God-awful, puke-inducing smell in the stairwell?” still remain. But as I was taking a walk outside and dwelling on the uncertainties, a rainbow appeared. Not only that, but it was an awesome, full-fledged, massive arching double rainbow that seemed to span the city while also exactly centering Joél and Jenny's apartment building where I've been staying. It was as if God needed to remind me of his promises to take care of me, but in a way that I could actually comprehend. I didn't have to color analyze a thing or over think the meaning because it was right there, painted with an exceptional palate. The reds were THE perfect red and transitioned gradually yet accurately into the vibrant oranges and coy yellows and down the line. He has all transitions under control, not just in my stupid little life, but all throughout this broken city. And I take great comfort in this. Next week, I'm moving up to Beira for a month. But despite the new batch of hazy questions that arise in the scenery change, I'm blessed by a total sense of peace that whatever God has in store for February, it's bound to be colorful.


Paul said...

Thanks for my new favorite euphemism.
"I'm not swearing, I'm lacing my words with eloquent profanity."

Ben Larson said...

You're odd. :)