beautiful times.

do you like bright colors?

i do.

today, my fingernails are painted a bright, sherbet orange color. yes, i am an adult. i work a full-time, professional job and attend grad school. and i have nails that catch your eye from across the room. i have a reason.

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on Friday, i went over to visit my parents after work. they live in the house that i grew up in, only now it’s full of my younger adopted siblings. so going home is kinda like going on an adventure . . . you never quite know what you’ll get.

the weather was stormy, windy and cloudy but not rainy. i liked it a lot, it was very good weather to swing on the swings. i challenged my brother to a contest to see who could jump off their swing and land on their feet. my mom gave everybody a snack. my sister showed me how to dance all the choreography to her favorite song. my dad showed everybody up in basketball.

and then, in an instant, the rain came. we all rushed inside, shivering and laughing. bundling up in blankets, we sat inside. what to do now?

i’ve always liked stories. it seems to me as though the best stories are always told by a real person.

so i started to tell the story of Rapunzel. do you know it?

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my littlest sister has braided hair extensions that need to be taken out and replaced periodically. she doesn’t like the process, so while she sat on my lap and i undid her braids, i spun a tale for her.

after a few minutes, i looked around and saw that all three of my younger siblings had gathered, as well as the family dog. this was a story worth hearing, apparently.

i did my best to make it exciting. i added lots of detail.

an hour later, i finally finished.

thankfully, the evil-wishing individuals in the story had been defeated by true courage and strength of character.

my sister told me that i was the best storyteller of all time. and my brother said, “i like the part when you don’t know what’s gonna happen next.”

i drove home feeling very accomplished. after all, i had told a great story.

only later did i realize how very insightful that statement is.

“i like the part when you don’t know what’s gonna happen next.”

life is a composite of stories. short ones woven into a greater scheme of life, creating the grand story that is who we are. but even our story, important as it is, exists as a thread of a greater tapestry. there are stories swirling all around us in everyday conversation. and perhaps what makes a story the most worth hearing is the part when you don’t know what’s gonna happen next.

this winter was very long for me.

sometimes i get discouraged. overwhelmed. just downright tired.

and this winter was kinda dark. physically, the shortened daylight hours left me longing for light. emotionally, the heightened personal responsibilities i carried left me searching for comfort.

kinda felt abandoned. kinda felt lackluster. kinda felt like all of the wind and the rain was never-ending.

and i didn’t even realize how much i needed sun until i experienced the warmth of it on my face.

until i saw the brightness of new color.

until the light began seeping in through my curtains in the early morning.

one of my favorite musical talents is a man named Adam Young, also known as Owl City. he released a song recently with these words:

i fought all through the night

oh, oh, but i made it alive

the sun’s starting to rise

oh, oh, these are beautiful times

this fight of my life is so hard, so hard, so hard

but i’m gonna survive

oh, oh, these are beautiful times

my life has been pieced together. a messy patchwork of downward spirals, wind-blown storms, and brightly lit colors and patterns that draw the eye upwards. it’s a fantastic thing.

is it possible that the darkness makes the light even more beautiful?

and the most intriguing part of the tale is usually when you don’t know what’s gonna happen next?

tonight, i explained to my coworker that i paint my nails bright colors to remind myself that “winter can’t last forever.”

no matter how much wind and rain pelts the side of my house, and makes me run inside and grab a blanket and stare out the window shivering, eventually . . . the sun will poke its way through those clouds. and the darker they are, the more a contrast exists, and the more welcome that sunlight becomes.

perhaps this is why Jesus came.

a long time ago, this man named Isaiah wrote down some things that he felt God telling him. one of them was this:

the people walking in darkness have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of darkness a light has dawned.

[chapter 9, verse 2]

anybody who’s ever been depressed knows how it feels to be brought out of the darkness and into the light. it feels like a heavy blanket is pulled off of your heart, and suddenly all of the fresh air that your lungs were missing comes rushing in at once.

that’s why i wear bright nail polish.

because winter doesn’t last forever. because the stormy wind and rain eventually lets up, and the sunshine breaks through the clouds.

the story isn’t over. the part where i don’t know what’s gonna happen next, that’s all of it.

but it’s punctuated by hope. and beautiful times.

 

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check out my favorite at www.ayoungblog.com

 

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