Puff Piece: As It Is
Grey clouds have shrouded the better part of this year. Even a sunny summer can’t hide the insecurities of the season. In the past week, I have been working on an article about suffering and grief. My family has had its share lately. Yours, too, I imagine. We found out our new granddaughter has a difficult genetic condition. And we lost my lovely mother-in-law, Gloria when she died in a nursing home. The list could be longer….
But today, I decided to punt and write a puff piece, explore a topic as fluffy and light as a foam-filled pillow or a cotton-ball cloud. What does “Get Out of the Grey” mean? It’s is not about silver linings. Instead, it’s about finding life in a brighter story. Accepting existence as it is.
Out of the Grey: As It Was
Way back in the day, my husband Scott and I named our band Out of the Grey, under duress. We were signed to Sparrow Records, working on our first project, and had yet to make a name for ourselves.
Should we call our group The Dance? No, we don’t want to scare off non-dancing Contemporary Christian Music fans.
How about Denté with an accent over the e? Confusing ethnicity: are they Italian? French? Where’s the Inferno?
I suggested Christina and the Waves but that fell flat.
Somehow we settled on a song title Scott had scribbled in his notebook: “Out of the Grey.” Not gray with an a but an e to reflect what Tolkien might write of mysterious havens. We liked the way the phrase out of the grey hinted at an imminent and vibrant surprise. Uncertain then of what was coming, we are no wiser about our future now.
Blame it on the Grey
Grey is a trendy color these days. This morning I tossed my soft grey blanket across a couch cushion and nearly lost it in the blend. Their colors melded in the same way my cozy wool slippers disappear into our shaggy ash-colored rug. Walls and pillows boast—no, suggest— shades of grey. My grandkids wear clothing in cool takes on the color. Some of their soft toys lie mute and missing on the non-descript floor.
Don’t get me wrong—I like the way grey looks most places. However, it has set the tone for this year, the perfect backdrop for the storm created by an invisible, invading virus. It started for us in the wintry March madness of cold social distancing. Led to the isolating overcast of self-quarantining… but, hey, I said I wasn’t going there.
What Does Out of the Grey Mean?
Thirty years ago, when I was 26, I believed in black and white. Answers to my myriad questions hovered on the horizon like geese headed north in the heat. I could live with a Winter Sun when summer was always coming.
Mixing fear of the future with theological certainty, I wrote tunes I hoped to whistle all the way home. The future was bright and I was wearing the right shades.
Our Out of the Grey songs reflected black and white truths in the midst of grey areas. I wanted to make solid statements in a world of swirling uncertainty, provide clear images for those of us who couldn’t see straight in the broad daylight.
To get out of the grey meant to trust that this tainted world would one day be saturated in the perfect Justice, Love, and Mercy for which we longed. Complex ideas wrapped up in three little words and three-minute songs.
A Whole New Meaning
The rain is falling this summer day and I’m okay with it. Our thirsty lawn needs the drink. My skin appreciates the break from the heat. Despite the overcast sky, my face is lifted. Of course, grey will always shadow our days. Embracing its nuance means taking life as it is. NOW is as good as it gets. And it is good.
I don’t always get the big picture but I am getting better at living in the present. Much of what clouds my vision is a concern for coming struggles.
Not me! My thoughts can’t capture or control a hazy future. NOW is where I exist and HERE is where I sit.
The bright red pillow on my heather-gray couch matches the flashing red coffee cup in Scott’s hand. Our story accents the fact that stuff happens and yet, here we are. Fluff the cushions, toss the throws, and forget the clouds today. Just for the moment, get out of the grey!