Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high. There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.”

 Though I never met Judy Garland (she was a little ahead of my time), these words sung by her as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” kept coming back to me each time I witnessed a rainbow during my visit last month in the west of Ireland, the land of my birth. There the sun would give way to showers and in turn showers would give way to the sun and in between a rainbow would appear in all its colorful splendor. These expressions of nature were well orchestrated as only Mother Nature can orchestrate.  

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” 

Here in Kalaupapa the skies are mainly blue but, when we experience showers, we are also blessed with brilliant rainbows. For us working in Kalaupapa it is a dream come true just to be residents here and these rainbows symbolize that feeling of a dream come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are behind me, where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops. That’s where you’ll find me.” 

Perhaps we could say that these lines echo the sentiments of Judy’s life, the pressures of her young life and the troubles of her adult life when death came calling at the young age of 47 — just about my age. Perhaps they echo the sentiments of our own lives when we go from sun to showers and back to sun again and the rainbow is a promise of better times.

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can’t I?” 

There have been times when I’ve been asked where I was born and I’ve responded, “At the end of a rainbow.” This response has prompted a variety of reactions, not all complementary. Yet, just as the rainbow in the sky was a promise of better times for the Biblical Noah, so also it brings the promise that we will get our phone land lines back, Makani Kai will be cleared to land after the rain storm, and those pesky deer will stop leaving their trade marks on the church lawn. 


Anchor columnist Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.

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