We recently decorated our home for a birthday party. My daughter rearranged the balloons, so a purple balloon and an orange balloon were side by side. "Daddy, look" she shouted, "aren't they brighter together?"
I knew my daughter is very creative and she loves arts and crafts, yet I was still impressed that she had given thought to which colors looked best together. I was reminded of earlier in the day when she made a painting with polka dot paints. She had spent some time playing with the bottles, anthropomorphizing the bottles and pretending they were in relationships with each other. She was simply playing with a wild imagination imitating true love as she has seen it portrayed in princess movies, but she got me thinking about the possibilities for colors as metaphors for relationships.
If we imagine two potential lovers as colors, we might first realize they are pretty boring if they are identical. For a painting or outfit or interior decorating arrangement to work there needs to be some contrast. Likewise, a match made in heaven will include two people who complement each other, both as male and female and as people with complementary interests and talents. Also, two colors that clash are unpleasant and two people with too little in common will not make a great pair.
After recognizing this more obvious analogy, we might further realize combining two colors changes the way we perceive either color individually. If I wear a tie with several colors and a shirt that matches one of the colors, you might say the shirt brings out that color in the tie. A couch in the store might appear completely different when we get it home if our walls are a different color. This is what my daughter noticed when she observed the two balloons looked brighter together. Lovers bring out the best in one another like one object might bring out a particular color in another object. This is especially true when a relationship is blessed with the sacramental grace of marriage. I am brighter because of my proximity to my wife, and she is brighter because of her proximity to me. Together we strive to bring out the best colors in our daughters.
I was reflecting on the complementarity of colors and of lovers earlier this week when I read a meditation in the Word Among Us which further deepened the reflection. It said, "Imagine the light of Christ as that white light. When his light touches us, each of us displays a slightly different color, and together we, the Church, become like a beautiful rainbow painted across the sky." Science tells us objects absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others. The specific wavelengths which are absorbed or reflected determine an object's color. This is a beautiful image for us when we imagine Christ as the white light. Each of takes in specific spiritual gifts and graces. Each of us reflects back specific fruits of the Holy Spirit. These gifts do not originate from ourselves. They originate from Christ. The specific gifts received and given are unique for each of us, so each of us has a unique hue. The beauty of human relationships - especially of relationships in our families - is that the Holy Spirit blends each our unique colors into beautiful artwork that is so much more than the sum of the individual colors. If we open ourselves to absorb God's love and we reflect God's love to those around us, then each of the resulting colors in our domestic churches are sure to be brighter together.
 “Meditation: Matthew 5:13-16,” Word Among Us, June 2018, 33, accessed June 16, 2018, https://wau.org/meditations/2018/06/12.