Listening for Colours and Looking for Sounds in God’s Complicated and Beautiful World

I have always been a bit weird. I cannot, under any circumstances eat grapes without a fork. I use my window as a white board. I wear a long sleeve jacket in the sweltering heat of July and flip flops and short sleeve t-shirts in mid November.
I also have something called synesthesia. No, it’s not a hard-to-cure disease like cancer or malaria. In fact, it’s not even a disease. Synesthesia is an extremely rare neurological condition.
Basically, I hear colours and see sounds when I hear music.
I actually didn’t know that it had a name until a few months ago. The parts of my brain that detect sound and sight are closer together than normal. Which only makes sense for synesthesia to mean “union of the senses.”
I hear the colour orange when I listen to the sound of an A on a trumpet.  Yo Yo Ma’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite is deep turquoise and gold. When the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” is played in the key of A minor, I hear cold blue with soft tints of grey. When I play vibrato on my violin strings, I hear a lush emerald sheen on a rich purple.
Before my eyes I see painted stokes of intertwining colours that swirl on a bright canvas.
From those colours, I have learned things about our Father and the world He has created
The Beauty of Silence
We are afraid of silence. Silence bothers us because we don’t spend enough time in it. Silence makes us uncomfortable.
Why? Because our lives each and every day are invaded by noise.
I didn’t spend 30 minutes in silence until I was thirteen.
It was terrible at first. Thirty seconds in the first idea that popped into my head was “I need to turn on music.”
I was surprised how dependant I was on noise to fill time. I realized that the more I consistently sat in silence; I began to look and listen for things that I was oblivious to.
When those beautiful things that we take for granted are removed, we yearn to have them back again.
The intricate and beautiful things, like the feeling of golden sun rays enfolding my patio in warmth, the smell of the ground after a fresh spring rain, or sight of the first purple crocuses, show themselves when we are in silence.
His World in Colour
Yet I can say with no exaggeration that this world is broken.
My heart hurts for the hurt.
Victims of war and genocide. People dying of completely preventable conditions. Children forced into illegal slavery, just so the company owner can make a little profit.  Girls who aren’t allowed to go to school because they are believed to be of the “weaker gender.”
People, like myself sometimes, living selfish and apathetic lives and ignoring the call to do something greater than themselves.
I look up into the heavens some nights and whisper “Lord Jesus, come back soon.” The world is complicated, messy and chaotic. 
Despite this, my heart bursts for joy when I receive hand colored pictures from my 2 year old students, or when I am standing on a high sand dune over Lake Michigan watching the sun set across a sky streaked with soft pinks and oranges. I am always happy when I see broken relationships restored. My heart soars when I go to see a concert; the air just filled with music, from the deep and rich tones of the cellos to the melodic beauty of the violins.
 There are beautiful things in this world and terrible things that seem far beyond our understanding.
But I’ve realized that sometimes we aren’t meant to understand.
 And that’s okay.
Our finite minds cannot understand the infinite mind of our Father. But that lack of understanding shouldn’t stop us from showing His love, grace and forgiveness to others that was shown to us.
Synesthesia makes me yearn for and delight in the truth, beauty and goodness of the Father. It helps me understand His beautiful world in colour.
So rebelutionaries, anticipate the second coming of our Lord Jesus. How? Don’t look up. Look around. Remember what the angel said to the disciples at Jesus’ ascension? There are people who are hurting and long to be known and loved.
One day He will come back. He will make all things new. Think of it: all the loneliness, injustice and suffering will be reversed and will be no more. And finally, we will see His world in colour.

4 thoughts on “Listening for Colours and Looking for Sounds in God’s Complicated and Beautiful World

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