Today Lord, you offer options

sights and sounds

tastes and odors

feelings, and yes friends

and more.

Sights capture me early but choices remain— ocean and sands hillsides and trees streets and buildings people rocks birds pathways cars streams and more.

What am I seeing—what are you showing me…?

Color?  All kinds of color: winter color, ocean color, sky color, forest color.

Not to expect reds and yellows—it is autumn now, now winter.

The flowers? They await resurrection

The birds?  Away on their southern pilgrimage, and those that remain have put on their winter blahs

So red is a surprise—it skewers my eyes from a mile away

Alas, it is just a car.  Still no yellow.

But wait, there IS orange—just a bit of it— belting the undefined waist of a bristly roly-poly as he confronts the monstrous barricade that is me… I let him pass, quarter inch by quarter inch by quarter inch… It will be a mild winter… maybe.

This little creature is exactly that—a creature, with a creator, designer, life-giver, one who cares for him even in his functionless simplicity. Cares enough to give him an orange belt and let me see it.

Mostly the colors are darker.   

The blues are cold blues—the winter sun is too low to much warm them.

The ocean is dark as slate—but restless and seething in its seeming quest for dominance.

The sky is deeper azure than when the sun is higher.  But— turning around, that southern sun is dazzling as it skips its rays like a million stones across that water blue, now silver, now gold, now silver.

Water and sky meet joining together in a union of brilliance.  Blue. Silver.

The waves—each in turn growing higher—higher—still higher until its pride crashes in a stormy spray of liquid lace.

The dark blue furrows bordered in white—a radiant, delicate and powerful etching.

The greens,

huge evergreens spearing the sky with points almost like weapons

a myriad of tiny moss tufts providing the lower terraces with an emerald blanket

the ferns, somewhere between the trees and the moss—there to make it interesting.

And the grass—always the grass—chameleon and capricious, sometimes green, sometimes brown, sometimes dead.

Today, at least, alive.

The colors of earth—browns and blacks. 

Beige sand—everywhere, black rocks, giant and imposing—punctuating the seascape, the landscape, the skyscape with their obstinate permanence.

We give meaning to color.

White for purity.  Blue for loyalty.  Red for blood and commitment. Green for life.  And the earth-colors, part of the bedrock of everything else.

Today God, you show me colors.

Today God, you show me


Gray gets little attention, sometimes it’s even boring.  We almost never notice gray. Some wish all were black and white.  Sometimes even I wish all were either/or.  Easier that way.

But today you show me gray.

Gray where the clouds are thin but still occlude the blue.

Gray where the water meets the sky and those blues get blended.

You show me gray—it’s the canvass upon which all those other colors come to life. The bold black rocks are sculpted in stark relief against the gray… The trees show their greens in arrow-like shafts with no competition from the gray against which they are brushed.

If all were white, the white caps would not be pretty

If all were blue, blue would have no meaning

If all were brown, brown would be flat and listless

If all were gray, there would be no interest

But if there were no gray, what color would back them all up?

Red?  No!  It is pretty, but overwhelming.

Yellow?  No!   It is pretty, but it can clash.  It can grow dull and look sick.

Green?  Maybe! But green would not show up against green.

Blue would disappear against blue.

Against gray, the other colors show their character, and their contrasts are made real. 

Sometimes Lord, I wish to be red or yellow or blue or green or black or white; I wish to stand out and make a bold, even brash, statement for you.

Or maybe—

—for me.

Brown or even beige, would be okay too.  I like brown rocks; they make big splashes.

Beige sand… great castles.

But you? are asking me?

—to be gray?

Who are you kidding?  Are you asking me to let you choose the color? For me?

Maybe I want to be bright and vibrant myself!  What about this thing called free choice?  What about that, God?

What is that you say?  I am free to choose—choose you as the artist or not?

And then you as the artist will choose my color? But this is me we are talking about here God, isn’t it? Say again?

No.  It’s about you?  You? My artist?  That’s a new thought.

Well, Lord, you have shown me color today; that you know a thing or two about color; that your taste in colors is so original, so congruent, so beautiful, so right,

Divine even.

Alright Lord—Today  I choose you to be the artist for and with my life. 

And Lord if you want gray—okay.

Thomas Lemon wrote these verses during a pastor’s retreat at the Oregon Coast in early December, 2004.