The Colors of the World

Genesis 1:3 ESV:  “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

As I drove into work this morning, the air was crisp and clean from heavy rainstorms yesterday.  A light mist hovered above the ground, especially in low-lying areas between the hills, and the sun sparkled off of dew-kissed leaves.  Privileged to be able to experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the morning, I began to think about how I could explain color to those who had never seen or experienced it.  How would I describe the blue of the sky, the bright yellow sunflowers, or the color of the mist in the fields?  What words would best describe the fluffy white clouds that dotted the sky?  What experiences could be put into words to detail the green of the grass?  And as I thought, I came up with a list of colors for which I could provide words to the blind so that they, too, might share their beauty.

Blue is the cool, crisp moisture of chilled ice-water as it caresses your parched throat or a gentle, rain that drenches your face on a warm afternoon.

White is the bitterness of a winter wind, its icy needles stinging your skin.

Yellow is the warmth of the sunshine as you bask in the sun, face turned to its rays.

Red is the tingling heat of a roaring fire or the pungent, musky smell of a rose in bloom.

Green is the feathery touch of a blade of grass, the smell of newly mowed lawns, and prickly needles of a pine tree.

Brown is the rough bark of a tree, the aroma of fresh coffee beans, and the taste of maple syrup.

Orange is the oily citrus of a peeled orange; the tart sweetness of a pink grapefruit; and the warm, tangy juiciness of a tangerine.

Gray is a fluffy cotton ball; the soft gentle whisper of a bird’s wings in flight; and the morning dew in the sunlight.

Silver is the cool, smooth surface of a refrigerator door or the gossamer, silken thread of a spider’s web.

Black is the empty, hollow sound of an amphitheater room or the fuzzy, hard surface of a sunflower seed.

Purple is the color of passion, a simultaneous, mixed-up feeling of both hot and cold; and yet purple is the unmistakable strong, “clean,” sweet fragrance of lilacs in bloom.

According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide.  Of those, 39 million are totally blind, and 246 have low vision.  When you stop to consider the implications of total blindness, thirty nine million individuals who have never seen color is a staggering statistic!  Even more staggering is the fact that so MANY of us take our sight for granted – we have always had sight, we wake up every morning able to see the sunshine, and we bask in the myriad of colors that belong to our rain-bowed world.  Yet, rarely, do we realize how our other senses capture the essence and beauty of the colors around us and how little effort is required to share that beauty with those less fortunate.

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