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Sabbath Revival: The Light Is Red

By Julia Blue

Today’s gem was originally posted by Heather O in July 2007. As someone who still hasn’t nailed the “is this my head or an impression from God” differential, I enjoyed her perspective.  Also, I thought you’d enjoy this little visual of what Deuteran and Protan colorblind people see vs. normal vision.


The light is red

DH is colorblind.  When I tell people this, I often get the question, “What does that mean?  Does that mean he sees in black and white?”

Of course, I say ‘I’ get the question, because DH refuses to speak about it.  He doesn’t say it, but I think he views it as a sign of weakness.  I tell him it’s a disability, and he should try to get some sort of reimbursement or something under the American with Disabilities Act.

He doesn’t like it when I say that. Anyway, it doesn’t mean he sees in black and white, but it does mean that he sees color in a different way than most of us do.  He is red/green colorblind, which means that he has a hard time distinguishing red and green from each other, and anything with varying shades or combination thereof.  He is totally convinced that purple is a worldwide conspiracy.

Occasionally something will happen that demonstrates to me what he is actually seeing.  Such a time occurred the day we brought our son home from the hospital.  We drove out of the parking garage, and had to stop at the cashier to pay.  There were single lights above each booth–green if the booth was open, red if the booth was not.  DH pulled up to a red light, and then cursed that there was nobody there.

“Well, the light’s red, honey.  Go to a booth that is green”, I told him.

“That light’s not green,” he told me, pointing to a painfully bright green light. “That light is white.”

Ah.  An insight into his world.

We had a similar experience a few years later.  We were driving in the late afternoon, DH again at the wheel.  The sun reflected off the traffic light in such a way that it looked, even to me, like the bottom circle was illuminated white.  The traffic light was, however, clearly red.  But I thought in my head, “Hey, I bet he thinks that light is green, because it looks like the bottom circle is white”.  And I knew that DH measures traffic lights not by color, but by position of light.  So I casually said, “You know the light is red, right?”

He said, “No, it’s not, it’s green.”  And he didn’t slow down.

I said, louder, “The light is red.  It’s RED!”

In a determined voice, he pointed at the traffic signal and said, “That light is GREEN.”

I started shouting, “It’s RED! It’s RED.  STOP! STOP!”

He slammed on his brakes, just as a semi truck drove through the intersection.

He was visibly shaken.  I was visibly furious.

“Why didn’t you stop when I told you the light was red?”  I shrieked.  “You could have caused an accident!  You could have killed us!”

(I am nothing if not totally reasonable in a crisis.  Obviously.)

He just looked straight ahead and said, “I didn’t believe you.”

Yes, folks, he didn’t believe me.  A man who has repeatedly had experiences that tell him that when it comes to color, he can not be trusted, did not believe his wife when she told him that a traffic light was red, and that he should stop.

A million things responses went through my mind.  Why would I lie to him?  Why would I deceive him?  Our son was in the car with us–would he think that I would put my family’s life at risk?  And it has been proven again and again to him that he can not rely on his own strength in this area, so why would he be, to put it bluntly, so incredibly STUPID?

And then I had an Ah-ha moment.

This must be the way God sees me.

I put my trust in my own strength all the time.  I think I can handle things myself when it has been repeatedly shown to me that I cannot.   Somehow I doubt I am the only one who does this.  And I daresay that when God tells us, “The light is red!” we are much more apt to say, “I don’t believe you” more often than we would like to admit.

Sometimes I think this can be the definition of faith–simply believing God.  Yes, I know there is a book entitled _Believing Christ_, and maybe I am stealing some of this from that.  But even more than believing Christ’s atonement applies to me, I also need to believe Him when He tells me to do something, or not do something.  I need to believe Him when He tells me things are going to be okay.  I need to believe Him when He says the light is red.

There is a line from Spencer W. Kimball that hit me hard this week in RS:

It is not blind obedience, even without total understanding, to follow a Father who has proved himself.

I sat there in RS and thought, Hunh.

That means that it only takes one spiritual experience, one moment, to know that He is trustworthy.  After that, there is no excuse for not being a true disciple.

I have had that one moment.  In fact, I’ve had several moments that tell me that God is real, that He loves me, that He wants me to have joy and that He knows the best path to achieve that joy.  Not trusting God seems as preposterous as my husband not trusting me.  Why would God deceive me?  I learned as a child that it is Satan, not God, who deceives. And yet, even with all of the knowledge I have, I find myself needing to have my trust and my faith reaffirmed, again and again.

Anybody have an experience where you thought light was green?  Any thoughts on how to really believe God when He tells you, “The light is red?”

Oh, and by the way, whenever we go somewhere as a family now, I drive.

About Julia Blue

(Blog Team) married to a hunky Aussie cowboy carpenter farmer composer filmmaker, who has turned her world upside down (this is a good thing). For even more fun, she flies around the world serving snacks and drinks, checking that seat belts are fastened, occasionally providing medical attention and hoping to never be a firefighter.

5 thoughts on “Sabbath Revival: The Light Is Red”

  1. Me too – I'm saving this for lessons and talks on faith. Perfect comparison. Does anyone know the source of that quote she heard in Relief Society? It's going on my fridge.
    My inactive daughter isn't open to gospel or church conversations, but she reads my fridge.

  2. I was there for a Relief Society lesson where you volunteered and shared this story, Heather, and it has stuck with me for the years since then. It is profound. It's nice to have a version you wrote out though because you express it better than I could from memory, so it will help me when I want to remember it again. Thanks so much for your insight!


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