Look at the stars; look how they shine for you, and everything you do. Yeah, they were all yellow. – Yellow, Coldplay
When I married the beloved Swede nearly thirty years ago, I asked my bridesmaids to wear yellow. His groomsmen all wore brown tuxes, but that’s a conversation for another day. In our defense, it was the early eighties when many of us made unfortunate fashion choices.
A year ago when I was discussing blog redesign ideas with a friend, I told him my site needed to have yellow in it, but I didn’t know why. Last week a friend invited me to meet her for lunch. Afterward she asked if I wanted to stop by her house to see her daffodils. There were nine hundred and fifty-two of them, she told me. She’d counted.
As we stood together, surrounded by a sea of spring flowers, I told her I remembered reading somewhere that, during seasons when he was experiencing relief from the mental illness which tormented him, Van Gogh tended to use more yellow in his paintings. When I got home, I did a little online sleuthing to see if I could find any confirmation for my story. I didn’t.
Some sources suggested certain Van Gogh’s vision was affected by certain medications he took to treat his physical and mental illness, and these caused him to see yellow or yellow spots. Some in the art world speculate that Van Gogh merely painted what he saw. I did find, however, this quote from a letter written to his brother in 1888:
Just now, we have a strong glorious heat, with no wind, just what I want. There is a sun, a light that for the want of a better world I can call only yellow, pale sulphur yellow, pale golden citron. How lovely yellow is!
The world outside my window is currently aflame with yellow. Forsythia is in full bloom, and even the pesky dandelion–cursed by homeowners who labor to eradicate it–turns it spiky yellow petals toward the sun. Perhaps even the miseries of this life are tinted yellow to bear witness to some hidden beauty.
While scripture reminds me the grass withers and flowers fade, and only the word of the Lord endures forever, it also points me toward the one who leads me beside still waters to restore my soul (Psalm 23:2). He visits the earth and waters it; he crowns the year with his goodness, and he causes little hills to rejoice on every side. (Psalm 65:9-11)
And he is the one who graces the world with the color yellow.
Another friend said to me recently that, as years go by, she finds herself increasingly surprised by the return of spring. And I knew just what she meant. Although God’s word tells me he has set the sun in its circuit (Psalm 19:4-6) and ordered the moon to mark out the seasons, (Psalm 104:19) my soul grows weary throughout the cold, dark days of winter. Though spring has returned faithfully each year of my life thus far, sometimes I am tempted to wonder, “What if this year it doesn’t?”
When yellow returns it speaks to me of hope, it whispers to me of resurrection. It restores my soul.
I see yellow and I am reminded that out of darkness light will dawn once again; mourning will make way for joy. Out of death, life will rise. It has before, it will again.
And the one who rose from the dead is the very same one who wove this pattern into all of creation. He is the one who numbers the stars and calls each of them by name. (Psalm 147:4) He knows mine.
And he gives me the gift of yellow.
How about you? If you were packing a soul-care kit, what would yours contain? And what’s your favorite color? Why?
Joining the writers at Living the Story @ BibleDude who, throughout the month of April, have been celebrating our ability to Rise and grasp the wonder of Christ as we walk out Eastertide. Today, Margaret Feinberg shares how we nurture awe and live wonderstruck in the every day.
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