When I was a teenager my older brother, Ken, and I used to hang out. He had a brand new sports car; dark green and fast, it became our symbol for freedom. He would come to town and the two of us would climb into the car with escape on our minds. It took us hiking, to the movies and sometimes, on an extended road trip.
One day while driving down a country road, a rainbow appeared ahead of us. Magic sparkled in Ken’s eyes…”You think we can find the pot of gold?” For a few moments, leprechauns, fairies and all the fantasy characters of childhood became real. My brother shifted gears, the engine roared and we sped off toward our pot of gold. Like a mirage in a desert, the end of the rainbow shifted before our eyes. The closer we got, the further away the rainbow became. After a time we rounded a corner and the end of the rainbow spilled into a marsh, unreachable by car or even by foot. My brother pulled over. We sat in silence, bathed by the rainbow’s luminescence. Time passed. He looked at me and said, “This is our pot of gold.”
Those moments of youth, unimbued by responsibility, worry or strife opened us to a plethora of possibility.
Speed forward many years….I was living in Vancouver working a very secure job—great money, benefits and living a fast-paced city life style when I made the decision to leave it all. As much as I loved what I was doing, a new opportunity was opening up in the country. The leap of faith required of me was immense and I swung from shear ecstasy to gut-wrenching fear. Trying to find centre and trust in this shaky foundation, I closed my eyes (only briefly, because I was driving) and prayed for a sign that my decision was right. As I reached the Lion’s Gate Bridgemy heart opened to possibility. I looked up and there, arching from one end of Burrard Inlet to the other, directly before me, was a rainbow. Not only did I see both ends of the rainbow, as I climbed onto the bridge, the rainbow doubled! Dazzling light shone down upon me. The ecstasy and the fear that had coiled deep within my soul were replaced by a deep knowing. I knew I had made the right decision to move.
Many years went by. I became very ill and was admitted to hospital. As well intentioned as each caregiver was to me, it seemed everyone kept making mistakes. After eight days of living a nightmare, I was sent home in worse shape than when I went in. I felt betrayed by the medical system. Emotionally, spiritually and physically I hit one of the lowest points in my life. I reached out to friends for support. I had little energy to actually talk and my concentration was fuzzy. Many incredible people helped me during this time. There was one person whose support was very special. Elle called.
I said, “Elle, I am really a mess right now and I don’t have enough energy to talk but I would love to be with you. Can you just talk to me and know that I am listening?” And so Elle began…she wove her way through philosophy and metaphysics, religion and alchemy as she spoke of the mysteries of life, and hard earned insights. Although my presence wavered at times, her words were a balm to my soul. My body was swept away in an almost rhythmic trance until a couple words brought me back, “rainbow…a double rainbow”.
Elle lives in North Vancouver, you see, and the coincidence seemed too much to ignore. I stopped her and asked: “A double rainbow over the Lion’s Gate Bridge?”
“Yes”, she said, and continued telling me about how this sighting had impacted her life. I asked her when she had seen it, and, because it was an important event in her life, she remembered the day. It was the samerainbow I had seen on that fateful decision making day. A feeling of complete surrender washed over me. I knew with certainty that everything was going to be all right.
That conversation happened four years ago. Last week my daughter, suffering from an allergenic reaction, was admitted to hospital. For several days life was held in a teetering balance…what we knew to be our reality and the almost surreal unknown that threatened our existence. Depth of despair spun circles around us as we held on to whatever hope and faith we could find. Eventually my daughter pulled through, the seizures she experienced diminished and we brought her home.
A few days later, as clouds hung heavy with winter rains I drove to her school to get some homework she had missed. As I rounded a corner, the sun broke through the dense clouds … a brilliant rainbow appeared.
I have chased rainbows before and have learned that it is not easy to catch one. Driving along the road I noticed how the rainbow began on my right; how it arched over the car and then disappeared again, far to my left. It hovered above me, almost vibrating in intensity, and then, just for an instant, the arch moved and I felt the energy go right through my body. A deep-rooted sense of safety penetrated me. I pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed tears of relief. I leaned forward and, looking out the windshield, asked to see the double rainbow. The landscape shifted and on the horizon a second rainbow appeared above the first.