Recently, as is often the case in summer, a quickly moving thunderstorm passed over us at the beach. My husband and I decided to wait it out and as the sky cleared, a rainbow appeared on the horizon. That’s kinda the way life is for us, isn’t it?
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
– Genesis 9:16
While the news has been filled with reports of occurrences demonstrating unrest around the world, I think there’s a widespread concern that we are on the brink of certain disaster. And here in the U.S., no matter what side you fall on, the political climate and upcoming election has us on edge. Yet most of us also have more personally pressing concerns to deal with in our families and everyday lives. We are waiting out the storms, praying for change, and anxiously waiting for better days to come.
We’ve been waiting since May for any news from the Pathways Program about the next internship opportunity. MJ has always kept herself busy learning new things and I suppose this down time is good for her. Even though she still spending most of the daylight hours sleeping, she’s been working on photography, she rebuilt her laptop, has been playing with a radio wave detector, and more. When she is awake, she’s always involved in something and is never bored.
Summer also provides more opportunities for socializing. I’m enjoying watching MJ interact with friends and family. We were encouraged that people we visited at the beach, family members we haven’t seen since last summer, made sure to tell me how much more at ease, conversational, and even affectionate MJ was this year. As we’ve grown to accept her and encouraged her to be her best self, she has become a wonderfully loving and expressive rainbow child… well, young adult.
Below are some thoughts about rainbows from a group of LGBTQ moms that I am part of.
The rainbow is actually a wonderful representation of love and acceptance!
It is the symbol of the Noahic Covenant – and there is a human part to the bargain:
in Chapter 9 before he invokes the rainbow promise, God says he will hold human beings accountable for the anger in our hearts against each other, particularly the anger that kills.
God says, “It is a sin to destroy another person,” because, “ALL PEOPLE ARE MADE IN MY IMAGE, the image of God.”
Only after that warning does God seal the Noahic Covenant. The flood happened in the first place, as Chapter 8 describes, because God was angry that so many of his created images, people rotten with anger, failed to reflect his love, mercy, and compassion into the world – his “hesed,” “loving kindness.”
God’s promise with the rainbow is for everyone. The work of the rainbow is done and when we see it, it should remind us that no one can stop it or remove it. The rainbow covers us all. The rainbow points to and gives me a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ, the promise of salvation and a reminder of God’s love for each one of us.
On another hot summer day, my husband invited MJ to accompany us into Washington, DC to photograph some sites for something he was working on. We visited Meridian Hill Park. It is a place where the experience and celebration of diversity and humanity is magical. At the north end of the park were about 50 people practicing yoga. In the middle of the long narrow field, were families of every kind picnicking and playing games, jugglers, and acrobats, and joyful people (many with their dogs) of every ethnicity, gender, and age. At the other end was a sight like nothing I had ever seen. People- tons of people- gathered together to play drums. It was loud, rhythmic, energetic, and spiritual. The drum circle started almost 50 years ago after the assassination of Malcolm X, when the area was an all-black neighborhood. Today the drum circle exists as a true celebration of the rainbow of life. In my opinion, it should be required of everyone to visit this park at least once, to experience diversity and understand that there is way more to the world than the bubble they may have grown up in, or as a reminder that the community they live in now is only a teeny tiny dot on the map. Clearly, this is sorely needed right now.
After we left the park, we drove by Whitman Walker, the health care center located in DC dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community. We’ve let MJ know that when she is ready for medical transition, we would like for her to go there because they would be the best equipped and have the most experience in caring for people like her. So, now she knows where it is and what it looks like. It was also toward the end of Pride week in DC, so the rainbows were everywhere! Further down the same street is Luther Place Memorial Church, an LGTBQ welcoming church. The church has a beautiful history of serving the community and was integral in advocacy with gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and inclusion, becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.
The experiences MJ had with photography in her last internship gave her confidence in her abilities and her interest in cameras and photography has taken flight. In my opinion, she has a highly-evolved combination of technical expertise and creative vision. It is at times mind blowing to hear her speak of the cameras, lenses, and technical aspects of the art. She has amassed such a wealth of knowledge in what seems like a short time. But the other thing that impresses me is the way that having the camera always with her, has given her a new appreciation for experiences that might otherwise been uninteresting or even potentially difficult. One evening we went to a major league baseball game and even though she never understood the game, she always enjoyed the atmosphere. But this time she was shooting photos and that kept her engaged on a much higher level. At other times, she’s used the camera to connect with family members and get into deeper conversations with them than she has in the past. While we’ve been waiting for the Pathways team to find a next internship, we’ve been pushing her to complete a website to promote her freelance photography services. I hope she finds some success and fulfillment there.
Again, it’s been a long time since the last internship ended, but the Employer Relationship Coordinator from the Pathways Program has been pursuing leads in graphic design, media jobs, and beta testing. We have a call scheduled with him in the next few days. We hope and pray for guidance and that something opens up soon and I continue to look for the rainbows and to share our story with friends and extended family.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
– Psalm 107:28-30