It’s thundering outside. Faint rumbles in the distance grow stronger, nearer as I type. The blue sky has disappeared and gray is all I see. Tree branches whip erratically as gusts of wind kick and blow, then fall suddenly still, the wind gone as quickly as it appeared. Moments of quiet hold; leaves faintly move. Thunder growls again and the next wind-burst attack grabs and twists the branches harder and more furiously than before. Rain has yet to come, but it will. It will come in endless downpour and drive, stilling movement of wide-open, free-choosing, run-far in blue-sky, bird-song living. And the question will inevitably come too: How long? How long will I look out the window, immobile, stuck and wondering, how long?
Umbrellas and dashes suffice when required. Driving slow and steady proves wise as well. But when the rains of life continue day after week, month after year, you start to wonder what the point is anymore. Nothing seems to change. The relationship stays mundane, the job relentless; the spark barely flickers in all the dampened living. The days of gray and sameness far outweigh the days of sun, and you just want it over already, to be free again, light and happy and maybe even a little reckless just to feel alive. And you realize in a moment of lightning clarity that the footprints of your soul have stopped, the prints faded away to almost nothing. Your body still moves, one step in front of another to get you through the day, but your soul?
My heart is heavy as I write. I think of people close to me who, in one way or other, are experiencing the essence of this grayed-out, dampened soul-living, and want to cry, "Stop! You don’t have to live like this. You have options. You have a choice. Fight! Fight for your life. Fight for your soul." If a person gets cancer she fights with therapy, medication, treatments–whatever it takes to save her life, to have more time with those she loves, with a new appreciation for the life she has. If the lawn starts to die he fights with pesticides and fertilizer, diligently investing time and care to bring back the lush green it was meant to have. He wants to enjoy the view from his window again and the feel of it under his toes, so he fights. We fight for contracts and speeding tickets, politics and retirement benefits, our kids’ education and wardrobe choices. We fight for what matters to us, rallying effort for so much that’s external in our lives. But what about the health and wealth of our internal beings? What could be more important or have more impact on everything else in our world–our relationships, work, purpose and enjoyment of living–than tending to the well-being of our souls, the deepest, truest seedbeds of our thoughts, spirits and emotions?
Perhaps gray sameness is the color of your life right now. Perhaps then it’s your hour to fight. Maybe the time for looking out the window and wondering is over and it’s time instead to rally your focus and energy, your schedule and efforts internally for a while. You only have this one life here. Why not make it brilliant in color for you and those you love? Pursue the hard questions. Take action. Talk with a friend or professional. Do whatever it takes to fight for your best life now so the footprints of your soul will once again lead you on toward the shining sun.