Love, Passion, Power and the Color Red

Anger flushed his face red. He pushed well into my comfort zone and jagged red veins in his nose seemed to indicate more than average alcohol consumption. I could smell it on his breath. Each knuckle on his large clenched fist, inches from my chin, pulsed red. I wondered if my blood would be that color, if it started to flow from a smashed nose. The stranger in front of me at the fast food check-out had suddenly turned and with foam flecks literally exploding from his lips, yelled at me in a gravelly voice; “D’ya like whatcha see buddy, d’ya like whatcha see!”

Colors affect our moods, impact our thoughts and influence our attitudes. As an artist I am probably more aware of that. When my wife Cindy and I decided to decorate our new office in red, grey and black, I was not thinking of anger. The remnants of February 14, still adorned many local establishments in red, but I wasn’t thinking of love either. I thought of power. Power, authority, strength, energy, all glowed red in my mind. It also reminded me of the mild panic I experience and see on the faces of fellow travelers when the battery on our electronic devices show a 5% charge. A shortage of outlets at airports can create some tension. This insatiable hunger for energy and inevitable shortages, inspired a new art piece I call “POWER”. It hangs prominently in our office.  The best power is quiet, controlled and mostly invisible. Not the red hot explosion. Not the uncontrolled rage. Self confidence should imbue us with that invisible power that stands firm in the face of irrational anger, or strong when faced with the temptation to compromise. Electricity sits quietly in the walls, but when needed, glows red on our stove burners.

My face might have flushed red when confronted by the angry outburst from the man in the line ahead of me. I didn’t know him. I had no idea what triggered the explosive outburst. But I clearly remembered later, that a quiet, gentle power rose up in me. I knew that a quiet, gentle answer can deflect wrath. Both my hands came up in the universal sign of surrender. I looked him directly in the eye and said in a soft grey voice, “I am sorry man, I didn’t mean to offend you.” It somehow diffused the anger. Red could have gone to purple and then to black. Instead, with a deep sigh, it went to pink, then white.

“He gives POWER to the weak, yes, those who are energized, will recharge their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles.”

The powerless can gain power. They can choose. They can live in a way that makes a difference. I often speak about the power available to everyone, the power of their story and how a powerful story can change lives.