In 1965, I spent some babysitting money to buy a ticket for a “Patch of Blue”, a popular movie at the time. The story of Selina D’Arcey, a white teenager blinded at five-years old by her abusive mother, and later befriended by a kind, black man, left a lasting impression upon my life.
For the movie was well titled. The patch of blue sky Selina recalls before blindness is a remarkable metaphor of memory’s grace to humankind. Often, remembering a patch of anything beautiful and profound will lift us from dark loneliness into joy’s great light.
Although art is not the real thing, if well done, the song, movie, painting, play, or book conveys these virtues that transform the human predicament with truth, grace, and mercy.
For example, when faced with a challenge, I may remember Pip, the narrator of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”. If this poor orphan became a gentleman, I may achieve the desires of my heart. You may.
My bookshelves are packed with titles well named; Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice” that illuminates my pride and prejudice with each read. On the opposite end of the literary spectrum, Harriette Arnow’s “The Dollmaker”, the epitome of wondrous truth-telling, speaks of my resourceful Appalachian roots.
To tell of real-life spontaneous bright spots in my own family, I recall my California daughter’s silly childhood saying, “Sha-koo-ka-koo-dee”. She’d speak it, laugh with innermost sincerity, and repeat it. No wonder she enjoys teaching English as a second language.
At times, I hear “Sha-koo-ka-koo-de” echo in my ear, and smile.
More recently, when I gather our Isa Brown’s eggs, I think of our former Ameraucanas and their gorgeous blue eggs. If they hadn’t been a mean breed, I may have peeled blue eggshells instead of brown for lunch’s egg salad sandwich.
Yes, I do miss finding a perfect blue egg each morning in the nest. However, peace in the hen house is more desirable than the color blue.
Often, however, our gift of memory reaches beyond the sensory to recall bright spots within the interior of our heart, mind, and soul. The moment we embraced truth, faith, hope, and love, their power created durable benefits upon our mind and heart to employ when we need strength.
Yes, dear Reader, a bright spot visited me a few weeks ago and offered a promise I hold onto. As usual, the sky was cloudy when I walked down to the hen house at night to close the chute. As I walked up the hill, I resolved to refrain from complaining about gloomy skies.
At sunrise the following morning, I sat up in bed and glanced to a bright spot on the shower curtain in my connecting bathroom. What a blessed sight! The sun shone through the window facing south and remained on the curtain, changing shape as the sun arose.
As I hold other unmerited gifts, I keep the promise within the bright spot in my heart. I now extend a portion to you.
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