The sky had that look about it: dark rainclouds broken by broad rays of golden colored sunshine. There had to be a rainbow out there somewhere.
When I came through the door, the waitress had asked if I’d seen one. I admitted I’d been looking everywhere, but hadn’t found it yet. She took my order, but each of us kept intermittently checking through one window or another.
Just as I was taking my second bite of salad, the waitress yelled, “There it is!” She was balanced on one knee, which was firmly planted on the booth bench to my right, while pointing toward the window. I ran over to look.
Sure enough, the stump of a rainbow rose above a stand of trees washed in golden light. It appeared as if the end of the rainbow was hidden behind the trees and the majority of its span was blocked from view by the ominous, black clouds.
After a brief viewing, I returned to my table to finish my meal. Both of us eagerly pointed out our discovery to anyone who would listen; but few others, except young children, were impressed by such a wimpy rainbow segment.
By the time I’d finished my meal, paid my bill, and exited the restaurant, darkness had overcome our rainbow. So I headed home. Just after turning the next corner, however, I stopped dead in my tracks. The setting sun lit the black clouds from below and gave them blood red highlights. It looked as if they were boiling in a sea of red flames.
I watched for about three minutes before the sun dropped lower in the sky and the red coloring faded away. Only a mottled gray and black sky remained visible. Anyone arriving at that spot after me had missed the breathtaking spectacle.
Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time pays huge dividends. Still, a person must also be alert and pay attention to surroundings. Blink your eyes, take another bite of food, obsess over digital devices, or otherwise become distracted, and you’ll never know what you missed.
• Do you make it a practice to pay attention and be alert?
• What payoffs have you received as a result of paying attention?
• How do you typically become distracted?
• Are you overdue for noticing a breathtaking spectacle? Why?