I’m really thankful that I’m not a dog.
Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing personal against dogs. I have no bone to pick with them, so to speak (Pun intended). I just think that if I were a dog, life would be a little less enjoyable in some crucial ways. For instance, I wouldn’t be able to eat chocolate. How tragic! Or even if I could eat chocolate, I wouldn’t have the opposing thumbs to be able to open the wrapper. Also, if I were a dog, I would have to wear a collar. And with my luck, my so-called “best friend” wouldn’t give me any old collar; no, I’d probably be stuck with an electric collar. Based on my slow learning curve as a human being, I am fairly certain that I would be shocked a lot–and I mean A LOT–of times before I would finally learn my lesson. I may not be an old dog, but it can still be hard to teach me new tricks.
But the absolute worst part—hands down, no question—of dogdom, in my opinion is simple: colorblindness. Call me strange, but I really love colors. Specifically, bright colors. Lots and lots of bright colors. And if I were a dog, I wouldn’t be able to distinguish between or appreciate those bright colors, or any colors at all. That would be very, very sad. I mean, have you ever heard of an exciting shade of gray? Or have you ever pondered what it would be like to sit at an OSU football game and shout “GRAY!!!!… POWER!!!”? It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? No, not at all. Why? Because gray is lame, gray is boring, gray needs to go away and hide because gray doesn’t have any friends. Except for dogs. Which is why I don’t want to be one.
And missing out on sea of orange at Oklahoma State football game, though terrible, pales in comparison to this: Colorblind dogs can’t see rainbows. Awful, isn’t it? As you probably know, dogs have super sensitive auditory faculties, which means that they hear things really, really well. Although I’ve never personally owned a dog (my dad is allergic), dog owners have told me stories of their canine best friends hiding under the bed for dear life because they are mortally afraid of thunderstorms.
Now, I haven’t seen too many rainbows in my life, but they tend to come after violent storms. But if I were a dog, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy—let alone see—the rainbow. I would just remember whimpering in a corner, praying that heaven is one gigantic leash-free park.
All that to say, rainbows are awesome, and I am sad that dogs don’t get to enjoy them. During my semester in Graz, I developed a special appreciation for rainbows. Let me tell you why.
If you read any of my blogs from Austria (or even some of them I have written since coming back), you will notice right away that I loved it. LOVED IT. As in, I quite literally had the time of my life, at least thus far. It was amazing, incredible, wonderful, exciting, and packed chock full of new experiences and adventures that I will remember as long as I live. But the best part was, without a doubt, all the new friends that I made—friendships I will truly cherish forever with people whom I dearly miss.
But Austria wasn’t all sunshine and roses; no, it had a few storms—both literal and figurative. At the end of May, I went through one of the worst. I had just returned from the ESN (Exchange Student Network) Summer Event, during which a group Erasmus students from all over Austria spent a weekend at a mountain lake, swimming, playing volleyball and doing what Erasmus students do best: partying. Overall, the weekend was a blast, I met some cool new people, and I got to know my close friends even better. However, as I pedaled from the train station back to my apartment, the storm clouds began to gather, both in the sky and inside my heart. I had barely made it into my third-story flat when the thunderstorm hit and the lightning started splitting the sky. As if on cue, the clouds in my heavy heart suddenly broke, and tears fell in perfect cadence with the raindrops on the roof. But why—heave—was—heave—I crying—heave? My heart, I soon realized, was breaking out of love for my friends. My soul physically hurt because I wanted them to find the hope that I have—the kind that comes only from Christ. And so, in that moment, in the midst of the overwhelming pain like nothing I had ever felt before, I started to pray, to pray from the bottom of my heart.
Gradually during this time, the storm had been dying down. As I neared the end of my praying, I felt the weirdest urge to check my Facebook. Strange, I know. When I did, I saw half a dozen updates on my news feed from my friends in Graz saying stuff like, “Check out the rainbow!” and “Wow! The rainbow is so beautiful!” When I looked out my window, which faced the city, no rainbow was in sight. Grabbing my keys, I hurried to the back of the building, which faced the other direction. And sure enough, above the Schlossberg in vibrant, untainted, breathtaking beauty were not one but TWO perfect rainbows. Two undeniable reminders of God’s unending faithfulness.
After the great flood that destroyed all of mankind except Noah and his family, God made the first rainbow, saying, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you.” (Genesis 9:12-14a).
Whenever a rainbow appears for all generations to come, God remembers His promise to us. So whenever a rainbow appears, God shows us his faithfulness. That means every single rainbow that has ever been and ever will be—including the perfectly-timed double rainbow over the Schlossberg that evening in May.
So wherever you are and whatever you are going through, whether you’re in a sunshiny meadow or just praying to survive the storm, know that God hasn’t forgotten you. Even if you can’t feel Him now, He is still with you, and He will never leave you. He has a way of turning even the darkest, rainiest, most seemingly hopeless moments into unforgettable, unbelievable, awe-inspiring rainbows.
And that, even if you’re a colorblind dog, is something to bark home about. 😉