Pay Attention

By Kim Moeller  •  February 15, 2024

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue. I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your ears. And sing everything you see. I can sing a rainbow. Sing a rainbow. Sing along with me.

I have been singing this song, written by Arthur Hamilton and sung by Peggy Lee, throughout my life. It is a song often used to teach young children their colors, despite the fact that two colors in the song—pink and purple—are not found in a rainbow. (For the real list of rainbow colors, remember ROY G BIV: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.)

For me, rainbows are one of God’s most awesome creations. To produce raindrops to be tiny prisms that put a beautiful arc of color into the sky is certainly beyond human imagination. And then…even better, God made it to be a symbol of hope and God’s never-ending love that offers humanity the opportunity for change and transformation.

Let’s return to the lyrics of the rainbow song. What do you think is the meaning of “Listen with your eyes. Listen with your ears”? I think it is calling us to be present and use our senses to pay attention to the world around us. I might even add Listen with your nose. Listen with your touch. Pay attention to all creation, especially the many colors, sounds, and wonder to be found there.

Another of God’s most awesome creations is the sound of nature and the earth’s many “songs”.

Listen to the sound of rain falling. Listen to that special “quiet” that comes as snow falls. I love those summer nights when you can hear frogs or what one writer called “cricket conversations”. I love the “song” of a stream or brook as it “babbles” along. I love the “crunch” as I walk through autumn leaves. And I adore my neighbor’s chimes as a soft breeze causes them to sing their song. What are some of your favorite creation “songs”?

What does it mean to “sing a rainbow”? When we “sing” something, we are using our voices in celebration, thanksgiving, and praise. When we sing, we are declaring “Amen!” or “So Be It!”

But it isn’t just paying attention to nature. It is also paying attention to the people around us. Are you truly present for the people around you?

How often do you have a conversation with a co-worker or friend or family member when your mind is also thinking about your To Do list or what to eat for dinner? One author suggests being present is about where your mind is living. Is your mind replaying something you said or did in the past days or weeks? Is your mind thinking about an upcoming decision or your future financial situation? You can’t really be present for another person if your mind is somewhere else.

So how can you be more present? Be intentional about making eye contact with others. I once had someone who was unhoused tell me the hardest thing about spending their days living on the street, was feeling invisible because people would not look at them or say hi.

Another way to be more present for someone is to be a better, a more active listener. There are many resources on the web about how to be a better listener but most all agree it is important to show that you are listening by giving cues such as nodding your head and asking questions for clarification. To be a better listener, we want to listen with all our senses—listen with our eyes and listen with our ears.

Just as in nature, there are many colors, sounds, and wonders to be found in people when we just pay attention.



For Reflection (either individually or with a group)

Read the blog. Read it a second time, maybe reading it aloud or asking someone else to read it aloud so you can hear it with different intonation and emphases. Invite the Divine to open your heart to allow the light of new understanding to pierce the shadows of embedded assumptions, stereotypes, and ways of thinking so that you may live more abundantly. Then spend some time with the following questions together with anything or anyone who helps you reflect more deeply.


  • What is one of your favorite things found in creation—maybe a flower, an animal, a geological place, a natural phenomenon like the Northern Lights?
  • What are some of your favorite “songs” or sounds found in nature?
  • What are some of the common things that prevent you from being truly present, to paying attention to the people around you?



Download a pdf including the Reflection Questions to share and discuss with friends, family, or members of your faith community small group.

About the Author

Kim Moeller

Kim Moeller is the Abundant Aging Education & Program Specialist at the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging. She has an MDiv with honors from Wesley Theological Seminary. In Silicon Valley, she served as Executive Director of the Churchill Club, Director of International Programs for SRI International and as Director of Small Groups for Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. She has also worked for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and Wesley Housing. She is a movie fanatic and reads anything from mysteries/suspense to religion to business to nonfiction.

View all articles by Kim Moeller