Sister Doreen’s Reflections
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.” (Rabindranath Tagore)
Tagore’s quote gave me pause to think that like the ever-changing clouds, the impermanence of the clouds, so too the impermanence of our feelings, our moods, all that changes in our experience of life. Life can bring into our life rain or storms, but these pass as we fix ourselves on our desire to grow more deeply into the spiritual life and open ourselves to that tenacious and unconditional love that God holds out to us as gift. It is true that rain, storms, and struggles can add depth and new understanding – they can add colour to our life.
Adding colour is all about our perspective, if we can change the way we think, see dark clouds in our life as opportunities to grow and learn, indeed our life will change. The way we cope with difficulties or problems can enable new outcomes. We can either face the challenges or run away from them. What Tagore’s quote has helped me see is that what matters most is to not let challenges get in the way of our vision or goals.
I have found that imagining clouds, watching clouds, and thinking about life, often helps me to recall that tough times or difficulties are nothing more than learning opportunities to make ourselves better than what we used to be. That if we go through it, develop resilience, gain new understandings about ourselves and others and our world, it can make us tougher, more resilient, and wiser. And since clouds are always moving, and there is something impermanent about them, so it is true in life that nothing, however dark it is, lasts forever! This is assurance of hope! Sunshine follows the rain, and usually creates a rainbow if we pause and look for it!
It is very true that it’s tough in the beginning, to actually live into the dark places and disappointments of life, but if we take Tagore’s quote to heart, and as we take a step back and reflect on the clouds, or you could call them the lemons, that have come into your life before, you probably had a few occasions to recall where you added color, or made lemonade, out of that situation. These remembrances, these dreams, these positive times of change, that brought new empathy, understanding, and love are anchors that keep us from drifting and encourage us on our journey in life.
I found a quote from Richard Bach, the author of the book “Jonathon Livingston Seagull” that adds more food for thought, he said: “A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion … this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.”
The book and the quote celebrate the idea “that every individual can do great feats if one has determination and self-belief, if we don’t just believe what our eyes are telling us. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know, and you will see the way to fly.” It encourages us to do what Tagore’s quote encourages – to see with the ear of our ears, the eye of our eye, the heart of our heart – to listen with the ears and eyes of our heart, amid all the experiences that come to us in life. And to believe that we can lift ourselves out of darkness, clouds, struggles and ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill, that clouds can add colour to our life.
To believe, to believe that we can lift ourselves out of those dark cloud places, to know that they are just not permanent, and that we are being called to live into a sunrise! I share a poem by Joyce Rupp called “It is Possible” from her book The Cosmic Dance:
It is possible to become so one with Earth that every flower perfumes the soul,
every snowflake sends icy softness dancing through veins,
every drop of rain trickles down vessels of the heart,
every cloud in the sky sails along song lines of the spirit,
every earthquake rumbles in the gut,
every tide of the sea moves in and out of self.
It is possible to become one with Earth
Just as it is possible to become one with all people,
Their pain, my pain,
Their joy, my joy,
Their struggle and delight an echo of my own.
It is possible to become one.
It is possible.