The Color of Life

Dean Robbins, Allegheny Campus Staff

Thanks must go to one of my favorite co-workers who inspired me to write this article! You help me to see how worthwhile the work there and the work I am doing at CCAC is and never fail to make me smile. Hope you enjoy this!

As President of SHLD, I deal with all stages of life, good and bad. From our earliest moments to our final breath, SHLD seeks to find the beauty and value in life. One takeaway from my over two years of presidency has been the importance of a colorful life. The most beautiful art uses a wide range of colors and creates beauty in the harmonies and discordances between them. Color is both physical and metaphorical. Art is obsessed with it. Even music, which is entirely auditory, uses the concept of color (also known as timbre). Painting, sculpture, film and photography use color both to provide physical beauty as well as to offer metaphorical emotional subtext. The magnificent French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (it’s in the CCAC library!) uses color to show the emotions of the two leads. The film begins with bright almost neon colors as the main characters Guy and Genevieve fall in love. Slowly, as their lives face difficulties, the colors drain from the film. The film ends in almost black and white. Colors represent emotions. Red means passion or anger. Blue means sadness. On and on.
Life at its fullest is bursting with every shade of color. Life, like true love, requires constant work. Sometimes, there is tragedy. Sometimes, there is triumph. Tragedy teaches us lessons. Triumph gives us affirmation. Alas, they must be balanced. “Balanced, as all things should be.” Too much tragedy and we lose hope. Too much triumph and our egos become too inflated.
In my 2.5 years at CCAC, I have learned that every semester is almost like a mini-life. An almost religious pilgrimage to a higher goal: greater knowledge and wisdom. There’s the time that you got 110% on an exam. There’s the time where you got an F because you procrastinated too much. I at least try to grow as a person every semester. When I first got here, I was a naïve 14-year-old. Now, I am writing an advice column in the student newspaper. In two years, maybe I will be living on a farm in Eastern Europe with my wife and two kids Fran and Gerhard. Life is unpredictable. Life may seem perfect and then someone you love dies. Life may seem hopeless and an opportunity is offered to get out of it. If life is just one color, it becomes predictable. Our lives are like a painting. We begin with a limited view and slowly zoom out. The meaning is created in the colors themselves as well as the contrasts and conjunctions they make together. We don’t get the full picture until we are gone.
In your classes, I hope recognizing this will give you solace. There will be failure. Learn from it. There will be achievement. Use it to go even further. Understand that others are the same. Accompany others on their journey. Treat others with love. Alas, “love is the intensification of life” (Thomas Merton).

 If you interested in joining SHLD in upholding the value and beauty of life, comes to our meetings every Wednesday from 12 to 1 in the cafeteria. To find us, look for our table usually set up during meetings or look for me (you have probably already seen a picture of me if you are reading this).