What’s In A Color?

I’m not much of an artist.

My son is a remarkable potter. My girls all have a sense of style and a capacity for crafting beauty that has never been part of my DNA.

However, I do know something about color.

I like it.

Bold and vibrant hues. Subtle pastels and creamy neutrals. I enjoy the palette of color I see out my back door that Crayola can’t begin to match.unnamed-5

So  when John and I were in Spain recently and had the chance to see the Alhambra gardens, they understandably took my breath away. The interplay of color and texture was magnificent.

My friend, Ana, a student at the University of Granada, was giving us the tour. As we sat quietly for a moment, taking in the surroundings, she made a statement that made me think.

unnamed-1“Do you know that Eskimos have twenty different words for the color white?”

She explained they pretty much have to, as a matter of life and death. White snow, white ice, white polar bears, white glare of the sun. If they can’t differentiate between the whites, they might walk into a storm and never find their way out. They may lose their way on an ice floe. They may not see the large white bear waiting to pounce.

We sat in the midst of these gardens, looking at the multitudes of shades of green. I know we don’t have enough words for green. Yet each was a separate color statement.unnamed-2

What was amazing was how they blended together to make a glorious picture. Each leaf was a different shade from the palette. Individually lovely. Together, as trees and shrubs and flowers, they were spectacular.

It reminded me of how I loved, as a kid, to do the paint by number pictures. Where a picture is broken into small forms that each require a different color. It was the first time I understood that rarely is anything a solid color. All things in nature unnamedare a composite of several colors. The variance is there. If you look.

The whole picture is a masterpiece of combined color.

Those who know Jesus are supposed to be that same kind of combined color. All different. All necessary. Individually, lovely. Together, a living masterpiece.

Jesus prayed for His disciples–and those of us who would know Him–on the night He was betrayed.

“I in them and You (Father) in Me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that You’ve sent Me and loved them in the same way You’ve loved Me.”   John 17:22-23

Jesus wanted those who knew Him personally to be unified, to work together, so that the world would see the evidence of His love and forgiveness through us. That all His followers would present a picture of Jesus in the way we treat each other and others.

A living masterpiece of color. All very different. All very necessary to the final picture.

We’ve not done a good job of that. Too often we use our different colors to paint pictures of judgment and criticalness and pain.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

How are you adding to the picture?







6 responses to “What’s In A Color?”

  1. What gorgeous gardens! … and such lovely words of encouragement. I love color too – although definitely not an artist – and the “colors” that other people bring in to my life. Life would be a pretty dull painting with just my contribution, but it is a Masterpiece because of the different hues that others add. Thanks for adding color to my life this morning!


    1. Aw, Ter, you make me feel so capable. Thanks for being such a significant part of my picture!


  2. alice fredricks Avatar
    alice fredricks

    Dayle, you certainly add “color” to my life that I would certainly miss if I’d never met you! God knew you would enhance my palette! Love you!


    1. You definitely enhance my life, my friend. I’m grateful for what you add to my life.


  3. I like color, too, Dayle [you should see my house]. Hope I’m not adding color to judgment, criticalness or pain of others! I know God is on this color and rock thing with me and gives me the opportunity to bloom wherever HE is! Blessings as you communicate!


    1. You remind me of the power of encouragement when you write with such understanding. Thanks for taking the time to respond. You have no idea how much that means.


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