There was a beautiful rainbow over Edinburgh last week. It was the sort of rainbow that makes you want to stop what you’re doing and take lots of photos. Rainbows have always been a sign of hope and promise and it got me thinking to points in my life where I’ve seen rainbows at the exact times I needed a bit of hope and a promise of better things (and yes, I took photos!)
In May 2016, we were told that my cancer had returned and it was stage 4. I was facing radical chemotherapy and then a stem cell transplant. We were a bit shellshocked as family and so we decamped for a few days to our favourite Scottish island to process everything together. On the first night, we looked back over to the mainland and a massive rainbow was stretched across our horizon. We needed that encouragement.
Two months later, after my first set of chemotherapy I was ready to have my stem cells harvested for the transplant that would happen in September. We’d been offered a pioneering treatment option and if it worked it meant that I’d be able to go on our annual family holiday before having the transplant and spending a month in hospital. Nervous doesn’t really cover how I was feeling. As we drove into the car park, a glorious rainbow arched over the hospital. We needed that hope.
I looked up what exactly causes a rainbow and Wikipedia tells me that a rainbow is “a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.” Next, I googled ‘simple explanation of a rainbow’ and Discovery Kids told me that, “rainbows happen when sunlight and rain combine in a very specific way. The beams of sunlight separate into the colours we see in the rainbow as they enter a raindrop.”
I like that. I like that the light has to enter into the raindrops to create the rainbow. It needs the rain and the sun and the sunlight has to break into the storm. When we’re standing in the middle of a rain storm, either real or metaphorical, it can be hard to believe that the sun will shine again, but it will. The light will return and cut into the raindrops and even if we’re still soaked through the sun will eventually come out again, a rainbow will light up the sky and we’ll be reminded of fresh hope and promises of better things to come.
If you’re standing in a storm this week I encourage you look for the rainbow. It’s coming!