"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
October 20, 2014
I Like to Look at Rainbows
by Ami Chopine

My daughter thinks rainbows are tacky, like a garish sticker slapped onto a scene of softened colors and landscapes draped in wispy grays.

Living in a desert, this dressing of gray that lies across the valley is often, quite literally, a prayed-for godsend with essential water being provided to us. It cools the earth from the harsh heat of dry summer or fills our reservoirs in anticipation of future drought.

I understand where she is coming from, but I like rainbows.

Rainbows are the impossible color against a dark and stormy sky; a sign that there is a brighter possibility.

Turn around, look opposite from the gloomy view and see the glorious light of the sun shining into the world. It is surely a heavenly sign.

It is one of those universally recognized signs in heaven, whether interpreted correctly or not. Norse religion made it out to be a bridge between heaven and earth, and the Polynesians thought it a ladder up to heaven. It is often the bow, belt, or necklace of a god.

We know it to the token of the Creator’s covenant to Noah:

21  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
22  And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; (JST Genesis 9:21-22)

This covenant is a promise of the Second Coming for Noah’s descendants — in other words, for us. How often do we think of the rainbow as a token for us?

Also, consider the significance of what rainbows are made of: light and water interacting in tune to the physical laws of this world.

The light enters into a water droplet, is split into a myriad of colors, and is then reflected back at us. But if it were just one single drop of water, we’d be unable to see the rainbow. It takes countless tiny drops of water to create a rainbow.

Are we the water that reflects back the love of Christ when we take it in, so we come alive in all those magnificent colors — seen and unseen — to build the Kingdom of God or Zion?

Or perhaps we look at it this way: We know that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. And we read in the scriptures of Living Water.

We stand in a downpour of water, with the light and warmth of the sun shining on us. This water only had the power to ascend because of the energy of that sun, and now that it falls back to earth, bringing its essential nourishment, it reflects the light as the rainbow, reminding our spirits of the Creator and stimulating our minds to search out the elements out of which all is created.

Searching out the physical laws of nature leads to an understanding that light is essential to all creation. And water is essential to life.

Does our Father in Heaven ever make symbols that only make sense in one way?

My daughter may be right: rainbows feel out of place, no matter the cool factor of how they exist. But perhaps even that is a symbol — that in this dimmed world we shine on, strange and peculiar.


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About Ami Chopine

Ami Chopine started out her mortal existence as a single cell. That cell divided into a collection of cells that cooperated enough to do such things as eat, crawl, walk and eventually read a lot and do grownuppy things.

When she was seven years old, hanging upside down on the monkey bars, she decided she wanted to be a scientist when she grew up. Even though she studied molecular biology at the University of Utah, that didn't quite come to pass. She became a writer instead. Still, her passion for science and honest inquiry has remained and married itself to her love of the Gospel. 

Ami is married to Vladimir and together they have four amazing children -- three in college and one in elementary school, where Ami is president of the Family School Organization. Vladimir is the better cook, but Ami is the better baker. She also knits, gardens, stares at clouds, and sings. She can only do three of these at the same time.

Besides two published computer graphics books and several magazine tutorials, she writes science fiction and has a couple of short stories published. You can find her blog at www.amichopine.com.

Ami was surprised to not be given a calling as some kind of teacher the last time she was called into the bishop's office. She currently serves as the Young Women Secretary -- somewhat challenging for the girl whose grandmother used to call the absentminded professor.

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