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A catalogue of double rainbows

Lisa Taylor | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

During one Candlelit Mass at Pasquerilla East, Fr. Tom Doyle suddenly pulled out his iPad during the homily. With excitement in his eyes, he told us group of gathered girls, “You have to see this YouTube video!”
He pulled up the video clip “Yosemitebear Mountain Double Rainbow 1-8-10.” The video is taped by a man sitting on top of a mountain, gazing out over beautiful trees and skies to a gorgeous double rainbow. For a full three-and-a-half minutes, the narrator’s excitement cannot be contained as he cries, “Whoa that’s a full rainbow! Double rainbow! It’s a double rainbow all the way! It’s so intense! Whoa! Whoa, oh my God, oh my God! Oh my God! Oh, oh, wow! Woo! Yeah! Oh, look at that! Double rainbow – all the way across the sky! It’s so bright and vivid! It’s so beautiful!” It is the incarnation of pure, unadulterated excitement, fresh and innocent joy.
Fr. Tom laughed alongside all of us as we watched the video, infected by the contagious exhilaration and joy of the narrator. The video ended, and we sat in silence for a moment. Then, for a few minutes, Fr. Tom spoke about brilliance of the man’s wonder and how, in this beautiful world given to us by God, we are called to respond to Him. If only our excitement for God could reach our excitement for double rainbows!
Lately, I’ve struggled with my own faith. I’ve struggled to muster up excitement, to really participate in the Mass and to reflect deeply upon the Eucharist. I find myself forgetting to pray, zoning out often and failing to look for God’s living presence. I’m wrapped up in my studies, which focus on violence, trauma, injustice and unequal power relations, making it difficult for me to look upon the face of the crucifix with joy when all I see is overwhelming suffering. Like any other senior, I’m anxious about the future and often feel as if time is slipping away too quickly.
This week over fall break, I was lucky enough to go for a second time to Washington, D.C., with the Sustainable Development seminar of the Center for Social Concerns. Beside all of our meetings with government officials, policymakers, lobbyists and non-governmental organizations, there were a few special moments during that trip which rekindled tiny flames of wonder in my heart.
One day, we stopped by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – the biggest Roman Catholic Church in the United States. While wandering quietly through its vast, ornate chambers, I was struck by the poignant engraved quotes: “See if any of you have suffered as I have,” “In these days I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind,” “Mary, console the children of a land sprinkled with blood and tears,” “May the peace of Christ hold sway in your hearts.” Dwarfed by this gigantic and beautiful church, elaborately built to catalyze wonder at the face of God, I wanted to pray. I wanted to reflect and really pray for the first time in weeks.
I had flashbacks of other peaceful, awe-inducing moments in my life: trekking through Patagonia and seeing my first avalanche crashing and tumbling in the distance, feeling sharp sandstone upon my hands and hearing quiet shoes tapping while climbing in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, galloping on a horse in the desert of Northern Chile and feeling vividly alive, laying on the grass next to St. Joseph’s lake and staring at the vast blue sky and watching a tiny green caterpillar wiggle across a tree branch. And these are just a few examples from the incredibly privileged and blessed life I live.
Imagine if every person shared their big and small moments of wonder. Imagine if we put them into an archive of memories, continually growing and expanding, cataloguing our joys, experiences of excitement and double rainbows. How could we ever be unhappy? So take five minutes for yourself, show a friend the double rainbow video, share a happy moment and spread a bit of wonder.

Lisa Taylor is a senior studying
political science. She can be reached at ltaylo13@nd.edu
The views expressed in this
column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.