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  • Aimee Williams

Death and Rainbows

(Chris tasting the rainbow at Victoria Falls, 8/2006)

A few evenings back I looked out my kitchen window and saw one of the biggest, most beautiful double rainbows I’ve ever seen. Don and the girls were sitting at the table eating dinner so I had them come look. Then I grabbed my phone and decided to go out back to get some pictures. I exited the kitchen and entered my back three season porch, where the door had come slightly open. Right in front of the door I saw it and my heart sank. There lay a small brown sparrow, still and lifeless on the floor. It must have flown in and been unable to get out. I don’t know if it careened into the window and broke its neck, died of heat exhaustion, or succumbed from lack of food and water. I do know that its presence there hurt my heart. It was tiny, perfect, and judging by the lack of decomp, had not been gone long.

“Don, can you come here?” I called. “Don’t let the kids come,” I added. This was just in time because one of the girls was hot on his heels. I had him assist with getting the tiny body picked up and disposed so the children would not see it. After the sad affair was taken care of, I continued with the task of going outside. I stood in the misty air and sparkling sunshine to take photos of a stunning rainbow. I looked at the sky and snapped my photos. Some were the normal shots, but I couldn’t get the whole thing in view. I took some panoramic shots to do it a little more justice. It was so beautiful. When I’d showed the kids through the kitchen windows a few minutes earlier, four-year-old Aurora had told us, “I’ve never seen a real rainbow before,” her eyes large and twinkly. It was a magical sight to be sure.

(My backyard, 6/2019)

My mind began to churn; to make connections in the way it always does. I had a flashback to five Julys ago on the night of my husband Chris’ visitation. There I was, in the receiving line for the 900 people that came to pay their respects. The crowd filled and wrapped around the sanctuary and into the foyer. People were waiting hours to get up to me. When my mom came and told me I needed to step outside because, “You need to see this,” I didn’t feel like I had a second to spare. She pressed the issue and I followed her. I looked up and there in the sky was the biggest double rainbow I’d ever seen…

("Chris's rainbow" 7/1/14... PC: Laura Martis)

(Amanda, Me, Mom, 7/1/14: PC: Laura Martis)

The bottom of the arc appeared to sit right over the sanctuary where Chris’ body lay. This was a moment of being reminded of God’s goodness, yes, even in the midst of death. I knew my husband had a strong relationship with Christ and I had no doubt of where he was.

(Rainbow over the casket: 7/1/14, PC: Tressie Tucker)

Again, seeing this little dead bird on my back porch brought to mind the account of the very first rainbow recorded in Genesis 9. The earth had become such a wicked place that God had chosen a hard reset, flooding everything. Of all the people in the world, only Noah’s family was spared. Of all the animals, only a select few of each species were allowed into the ark. All else was death and desolation. Yet when the waters receded the Lord placed a rainbow in the sky, stating it to be a covenant between himself and all living things that he would never destroy the earth by flood again.

In all of these three situations, literal death preceded a rainbow. Before the beautiful, there was grief and hardship first.

(6/2019, PC: Pam White)

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