17. The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
I find it reassuring knowing the rainbow comes and goes. It helps me accept the way things often are.
In every life, you have moments of blinding beauty and happiness, and then you land in a dark cave and there is no color, no sky. Then the rainbow returns, and sometimes only briefly, but it always does come back. You have to believe that it will, even in the darkest of times. That belief is what is really important.
Nothing is meant to last forever. Our lives are fleeting. We surround ourselves with objects, collect things, try to hold on to people and money and status, but it doesn't last.
We are not meant always to be happy, and who would want to be? Happiness would become meaningless if it were a constant state. If you accept that, then you will not be surprised when something bad occurs, you will not gnash your teeth and ask, "Why me? Why has this happend to me?"
It has happened to you because there is a nature of things. No one escapes.
The rainbow comes and goes. Enjoy it while it lasts. Don't be surprised by its departure, and rejoice when it returns.
There is so much to be joyful about, so many different kinds of rainbows in one's life: making love is an incredible rainbow, as is falling in love; knowing friendship; being able to really talk with someone who has a problem and say something that will help; waking up in the morning, looking out, and seeing a tree that has suddenly blossomed, like the one I have outside my window -- what joy that brings. It may seem a small thing, but rainbows come in all sizes.
I think about Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz singing, about where "bluebirds fly," and Jan Peerce singing about " A bluebird of happiness." Well, they may never find it, they may never reach it, and that's okay. The searching, that's what I think life is really all about. Don't you? Gloria Vanderbilt, p. 273-274This is more a story of Gloria's life than Anderson's, but I found her story so touching. She admits to the many mistakes she has made. She is definitely a survivor. I felt such compassion for her. Her dad died when she was a baby (cirrhosis of the liver brought on by alcoholism). Her mother was too vain and narcissistic (and young) to care for her. This is about her search for love in all the wrong places.
This is all in the backdrop of her coming from one of the richest families in America. It is sad, and she made some REALLY poor choices (very impulsive person and a dreamer) devoid of any real understanding of God, but I thought these reflections between son and mother were so beautiful that it is a worthy read. I cannot understand the reviews that call her a whiner and complainer. Those people are so non-compassionate and unfair! I ended up wanting to meet this woman!
I could not put it down. (Another reviewer said it was "boring," and I couldn't believe it! As my Senior English teacher once said, "There are no such things as dull subjects, only dull minds." And I might add that she directed it to me when I told her what we were reading was boring. Youth is wasted on the young!)
P.S. This Dorothy Parker quote makes me want to ponder:
The whole poem in context:
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.
So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.