I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
“Hey, Dad, what’s your favorite color?” Deirdre asked at dinner the other night.
Bobby stopped eating and looked at her. “Why do you ask?” he asked.
“Oh, I don’t know, you’ve been my father my whole life and I don’t know what your favorite color is,” she said.
“Oh,” he answered, and took another bite of food.
“Really,” she pressed, “what’s your favorite color?”
After a thoughtful pause to chew and swallow, he answered, “The color of your mother’s eyes.”
We all laughed. My eyes are nondescript hazel-ish affairs, not exactly one of Crayola’s most popular shades.
“Good answer!” “Good answer!” came a little chorus of voices, who had probably seen a few too many episodes of “Family Feud.” The survey surely would have had a big red “X” for that answer.
I got the question next. “What’s your favorite color, Mom?” Deirdre asked.
“The color of your father’s eyes?” I said it as a question, half-hoping I could get away with a corny answer, too.
“Oh, c’mon, really,” she said.
“I guess blue,” I answered, which is the color of Bobby’s eyes, “or green. It depends on the day.”
From there, we went around the table, each person sharing their favorite color. Deirdre’s roommate, Laura, is visiting. Deirdre answered for her, “Laura’s favorite color is red. The blood of angry men.” She was referencing a song from Les Mis.
Laura said, softly, as is her way, “It’s also the color of blood for not angry men.”
For whatever reason, the talk about the color of blood shifted the whole conversation to a more serious timbre. The levity was gone momentarily, and silence reigned.
We are at a time of year when we reflect on blood, the blood of not an angry man, the blood of love.
It’s the color of the blood that came like sweat as He prayed in the Garden.
It’s the color of the blood that trickled down His forehead as they jammed a crown of thorns onto His head.
It’s the color of the blood that dripped down His back as He received a lashing.
It’s the color of the blood that ran from His hands and feet when they nailed Him to the cross.
It’s the color of the blood that poured from His side when they pierced Him with a spear.
It is a sober, somber, serious color. I don’t think I would say it is my favorite, although, perhaps, it should be.
This morning, as I looked out my window to the dawn, I saw a flash of red on a distance tree. The cardinals are back. He flew from the far tree to a closer one and I ran to find a camera.
The only camera I could find was the one on my phone, not necessarily the greatest camera in the world, but the cardinal was still there, waiting to have his picture taken.
I snapped a picture. He looked like a black bird-shaped blob against the grey dawn sky. He flew to a closer tree, and I tried again. He was so beautiful, but I couldn’t capture him.
But God’s still small voice whispered in my heart, “Red, the color of wings that take flight. It is a gift from Me.”
So, thank you, Lord, for the color red. The blood of angry men. Sin. Love. Hope. Freedom.