Pat Conover: Sharing the Journey
The Promise of the Night Rainbow

When we visited Hawaii we found several wonderful surprises. One was a night rainbow.

Rainbows are plentiful in Hawaii: fragments of rainbows and full total arch rainbows. Sunny days are punctuated by mountain ripped clouds that trade some of their water for a change in altitude. The rainbows are beautiful in themselves and additionally beautiful to Jews and Christians for their biblical memories of a God who can forgive and will not always destroy.

What pays the wages of sin for us so that we do not always reap what we sow in unkindness and injustice, in thoughtlessness and unconsidered privilege?

Maybe an answer is in the night rainbow. I had never seen a night rainbow before I went to Hawaii and have never seen one since. The sweep of the ocean gives a lot of room for moonlight to have its full effect. Though I would not have believed that there was such a thing as a night rainbow, if told ahead of time, the night rainbow, fortunately, did not depend upon the puny powers of my belief. Though lacking the prismatic display of its daytime counterpart, the night rainbow more than compensates with surprise, the recasting of the meaning of the night which can also hold the light.

If we look to the Hebrew scripture for the promise of the daytime rainbow, where shall we look for a story of the promise that comes at night? The Hawaiians have a worthy story to share that satisfies me.

A great Hawaiian queen, Lileokulani, was so highly venerated that she was treated as if she were almost a god. Her charisma was sensed as so great that if her shadow was to touch a loyal subject the subject was killed.

Queen Lileokulani might have acted like a superstar, running around and watching the people scatter. Instead she stayed within her house during the daylight hours to protect her subjects. What a sacrifice to give up daytime movement! She swallowed her brightest colors in compassion.

But oh how she shown when she went out at night. Her compassion changed the night and her loyal subjects could gather close to her and show their faces free of fear.

The promise of the night rainbow.

Written by: Pat Conover, 1998. Revised slightly: 2006. This story serves as a preface to the 9th Chapter of Transgender Good News by Pat Conover.

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