Whenever I play one of those cheesy icebreaker games, I have a go-to fact about myself: I'm colorblind. That's right. Colorblind. And when people learn that fact, the usual reaction is something like this:
Me: I'm colorblind.
Every Other Person in the World: Really? What color is my shirt? What color is this pen? Does anyone have a box of crayons?
You see, people tend to think that being colorblind is much worse than it actually is. They think that I live in a gray world with no color in it all. That's not actually the case. I can see lots of color, just not some reds and greens.
However, thanks to the marvels of modern science and the innovators at EnChroma, I can now see these colors with the help of a pair of sunglasses. This totally changed my world. I walked around campus putting my sunglasses on and then taking them off. The contrast was amazing: vivid, dull, vivid, dull, vivid. For the first time in my life, I saw the true beauty that surrounds me. I'm about to start my senior year here at MC, and I only learned last semester that the bricks in the brick streets are red instead of brown.
A New Perspective
These sunglasses showed me exactly what the world is truly like, and that's really strange and unsettling. You see, I don't wear my sunglasses all the time, so I can walk down the brick streets, and my eyes tell me that the bricks are brown, but my mind knows that they're red. This experience really made me question what else in my life wasn't real. Is milk really white? (It is). Is Aladdin really the best Disney movie ever? (It is hands down. I watched it recently to see). Am I a good person? (hmmmmm, maybe not). This question really made me pause and think about my actions on a day to day basis. I realized that sometimes my "good deeds" aren't really good. Sure, my actions may have helped people, but they weren't necessarily good because my heart wasn't in the right place.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (ESV). Of course, Paul is talking about money in this passage, but I think that the general concept is more universal than that. God loves a cheerful giver of time, special skills, and money. However, sometimes I find it difficult to be a cheerful giver. I have a tendency to be a reluctant servant, doing things because my Mom always told me that true gentlemen did x, y, and z, not because I want to do them. I realized that I was living in a brown brick world, devoid of the vibrancy of a life of color.
What Can I do to Live a Life of Color?
The answer is easy: be a cheerful giver. However, that easy answer is difficult to carry out in everyday life. But never fear! Here are some concrete tips for getting your heart in the right place so that you can give whatever it is you are giving cheerfully:
- Be humble. Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (ESV). This can be really hard because everybody likes to be praised. So sometimes our motivation for our actions is that we know people will think better of us, but we must resist this temptation. Keep in mind how Jesus, the Lord of all creation humbled himself, taking on flesh and washing the feet of his sin-filled disciples.
- Have an attitude of gratitude. This is something that my mom has told me my entire life. In fact, when I was little, she would ask my little brother and I what kind of attitude we should have, and we would both chant to her in unison, "an attitude of gratitude." This piece of advice is really helpful to keep us from being self-absorbed and entitled. Having an attitude of gratitude forces people to look outside of themselves and cheerfully give back to others.
- Remember for whom you work. It is easy to get bogged down in the everyday matters of the world and forget exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." This is probably the most helpful bit of advice I have because when your motivation for everything is glorifying God, it's harder to go wrong.
If you look at these pictures above, you can see the effects of being colorblind on a person. You cannot appreciate the full beauty of a picturesque rolling hillside and rainbow, and you have to blindly trust your colleagues that the circle really says 74. In the same way, you can either not give at all or give because it is expected of you, but you won't appreciate the actual beauty of the world this way. You will feel put upon and bothered by these irksome tasks. You can live this way, but isn't it better to bask in the beauty of vivid color? This is the choice facing you today. Will you live in a brown, dull world where if you give at all, you give begrudgingly, or will you live a life of color and joy in which you continually give with a cheerful spirit?
--Charlie, the colorblind senior striving to live a life of color
PS. Sorry if this blog led you to realize that you're colorblind.