A Lesson in Rainbows | Sojourners

A Lesson in Rainbows

When Ntozake Shange published For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, I was delighted. I read the book six times, and I saw the play three times. This work meant so much to me then and continues to mean a great deal to me primarily because I am a "colored girl" who has considered suicide often and who struggles to find how the "rainbow is enuf."

Thanks be to God that he speaks to me in the ways that I can hear best. God used Shange to help me name the pain that I felt and also to show me that he was present to me, and more importantly that he had always been present to me, even before the time of my birth. Like the women in For Colored Girls, I knew of no one who would "sing a black girl's song" and make clear, affirmative statements about my worth as a human being upon the planet.

While this continues to be true, it was a much more destructive fact for me in the past than it is now. I had a great deal of difficulty living as a black female follower of Jesus in a world that deemed me alien first on the basis of my blackness, then my femaleness, and finally because of my faith. As a result my life has often been and is now at times plagued by depression and despair.

So why is a person who admits to being suicidal writing about hope? Because the fact that I am 37 years old and able to articulate why I am alive speaks to where I find hope.

I am not really sure about what it means to love God, but I do know what it means to be loved by God; and while God's love for me is no guarantee against struggles, despair, or suicidal thoughts, it gives me the strength to take the next step.

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