Perhaps the greater

The photo only gives a hint of the dazzling beauty. June 23, 2018

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Let’s just say it had been one of those days. Following one of those weeks. And one of those lifetimes.

Matt and I were driving through a drizzle that was the tail end of a huge thunderstorm. Traffic seemed even ruder than usual, probably because I was already in a bad mood, and feeling sad and kind of hopeless.

I was taking Matt to get a haircut that he badly needed. As I turned right onto the access road into the parking lot, the sun broke through the clouds and our windshield was filled with the most dazzling rainbow I’ve seen since leaving Hawaii over 20 years ago. I quickly parked and got out my cell phone. I have a cheap phone with a lousy camera that I’ve never really learned to use, but even with inferior equipment, it was hard to totally miss the beauty of the scene. Perhaps a bit of it comes through in the photo above

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but maybe you can imagine how it felt to be hit smack in the face with something so breathtaking, just when it was most needed. As Tolkien said, there is still much that is fair. Maybe he is right about love growing even more when it is mingled with grief, just as beauty is more remarkable when contrasted with dreariness.

It reminded me of Maya Angelou’s wonderful video clip about being a rainbow in someone else’s cloud, which I linked in this post.  I wish you a rainbow today…see one, or BE one!


  1. Renee

    I especially love rainbows! For me it’s real-time verification that God is there and listening! Yes life changes constantly so I’m holding on, in earnest & hopefulness as God continues to show me the way. August we are planning to come & see you (with 2 of your girlfriends). Sent you an email but thought I’d connect this way. When the clouds lift-my love-expect the rainbow!

    • NayNay, I did not get your email. I checked the spam filter etc. but it’s just not there…could you re-send it? I have had several emails go astray lately, and when I get sent a copy, the address info in the header is all correct, but for some reason I do not get it. Makes me wonder whether I’m missing other important things. I am so excited to think of you and my other two “shining stars” (remember the three-star necklace Myra gave me on my birthday?) are coming to see me. You will notice I made a guess about who the other two are. 😀 I so missed seeing you at church I couple of Sundays ago. I saw Mark from a distance but somehow missed seeing you. I was in NoVa last Sunday so missed everybody that day. Thanks for being here — I had intended to sit down and email you but like so many other good intentions, it got away from me…

  2. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    Thanks for sharing the video link. Hope your day went a bit better, after seeing the rainbow!
    What a wonderful thought, being a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. I hope I can be that for someone today. 🌈

    • Chris, it did improve things considerably. We all need those “dispatches from the mother ship” from time to time! I agree, I hope I can be a rainbow today. I’m afraid I end up being a dark cloud far too often. Hope your week is going well. Thanks for being here.

  3. A gorgeous gift for sure Julia! So happy you shared it with us! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Misifusa. It was too pretty NOT to share!

  4. I like the idea of being a rainbow in someone’s life. Someone is telling you everything is going to be ok. The fact that it appeared for you at just that moment says it all. Wishing you more rainbow moments. Hugs,

    • Marlene, that’s exactly how I felt. I had a similar experience just last night…feeling a bit weepy and when I looked out to make sure my photo-sensitive light had come on in the back yard, that very second, a gorgeous (full-grown) fox ran by, right below my deck! Even though they are very common sights around here, and people with kitties have to be careful about letting them outside, still it was thrilling to see such a beautiful wild creature sharing my space. Such sights are like an “I love you and the entire earth” instagram from the divine!

      • “An Instagram from the Divine”! What a wonderful phrase and way to look at those things. I don’t do Instagram or Twitter and barely Facebook. ;( But somehow I get my messages. Hugs.

        • Marlene, I don’t do Instagram either. Except the Divine kind, hee-hee, for which we are all born with an account. 😀

  5. Janet Sawyer


    • You’re welcome, Janet…I’m always happy to see you here!

  6. Rene

    No worries about the camera, that did take my breath away!

    • 😀 😀 😀

  7. Sheila

    Julia, I’ve never come to your Defeat Despair post without feeling blessed and better for it! 🌈 I don’t always feel that my comments are even adequate as I struggle to convey how much I care. ♥️ I read the related post Regular Phases and you mentioned “Jeff’s absolute confidence in me” and that must apply even now. He knew your heart …….! I’m so sorry that your grief is so overwhelming. Just keep trying, day by day, traveling by faith, and you will get through this! Thank you for being my special friend. Love you dearly! 💛

    • Thank you Sheila! This morning we are serving coffee on the Verandah…perhaps that will give you a clue about my need for energy today! And it’s even the special “high caffeine” variety! (I’ll be on the road today and can’t risk falling asleep at the wheel, hee-hee.) I so appreciate your presence, here and in my off screen life too! ❤

  8. Maxine

    thank you Julia for this beautiful inspirational message.I pray you can move forward and leave your beravement in the past,Jeff would not want you to live in the past,but face the future as he would in great faith.Love you Maxine.

    • Thank you Maxine. It is such a blessing to see you here. The years when all of us were together at Fairfield/Solano County were among the very happiest of our lives. When we left there in 2004, I’m so glad I had no clue what lay ahead of me over the next 12 years. I appreciate your words of encouragement and you are right about Jeff wanting me to look ahead in faith. I try my best to do that; some days I do better than others! Love you too!

  9. Terri Wallacker

    Julia, I so appreciate this blog post. Thank you very much. Thinking of you and Matt with fondness today.

    • Thank you, Terri. I am so blessed to see you here and I appreciate the encouragement!

  10. Harry Sims

    I’m a member of a fellowship that emphasizes attitude adjustment. (AA)
    Instead of poor me, poor me, pour me another drink and join me on my pity pot it emphasizes that God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

    It’s remarkable the way God so often chooses to work through weakness and inadequacy. St Paul reminds us that it is God’s way to choose the foolish to confound the wise, to lift up the lowly and humble the haughty. God’s ways are often not our ways.

    -Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

    Harry S.

    • Harry, so true. But sometimes I wonder…is it harder to be the weak, inadequate object lesson, or the confounded “wise” person? Discomfort all around! Thank goodness it’s possible to see that as a growth experience.

  11. Julia,
    As Dolly Parton once said: “You have to have a little rain before the rainbow.”

    • Thank you, Alan. I just love Dolly. 😀 One of many great Tennesseans who have blessed the world!

  12. MaryEllen Davis

    Blessings to you Julia. The rainbow, a symbol of Gods love and faithfulness. No matter how bad the rain, He will be with us and we will survive. Gen. 9:13-16.

    • Thank you, MaryEllen. I agree. In one of my very favorite songs, the words say “You never left my side…and though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm.” I hope everyone who reads this will take a few minutes to watch this video and be touched by the faces of those enduring great catastrophe…and as Mr. Rogers says his mother told him to do in great disasters, “look for the helpers.” 😀

  13. MaryAnn Clontz

    God sent a smile & hug for you & Matt, because He loves you!
    Thank you for this lovely RAINBOW! Rainbows are among my all time favorites, as you know. Much love to you both!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann! To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, “[God has] many ways to say I love you.” YOU are one way God sends us love! ❤ We love you back!

  14. Mike

    Wow. What a video. Also a favorite along with Amy Grant’s “better than a hallelujah.”

    • Mike, I had never heard that song. Thanks for telling me about it.

  15. “See on or be one”, I love that 😀 Rainbows have the same effect on you no matter if you’re 2 or 82. I know there’s a whole scientific formula as to why they’re in the sky, but still they remain magical. I’m glad you arrived to it when you needed a boost. xo k

    • Yes, as with so many things that can be scientifically analyzed, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It’s nice that wonder will never completely disappear, no matter how smart we think we are! 😀

  16. Lydia

    Hi, Julia. This appeared in my mailbox. Thanks for sharing even if it took a few months to get here. My 3-year old granddaughter saw a rainbow when she was about 2-years old and has been drawing rainbows ever since. She makes them in all shapes and started with 2-3 colors, then kept adding more colors and lately she uses the”basic colors” She is precious and I’m glad she has that sense of wonder for God’s beautiful world. Praying that God continue giving you glimpses of his marvelous love and grace. You are not alone.

    • WOW Lydia, I’m sorry it took so long to arrive! But hopefully better late than never. I’ve had several emails go missing lately even though they were correctly addressed, and I only found out about it when the sender re-sent it, guessing that something was wrong. Your granddaughter sounds like just my kind of gal. I know you must so enjoy being with her. Thanks for being here, praying for us and reminding me that I am not alone! ❤

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