Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude journal

I've made a breakthrough this week. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I find myself grateful for the color orange.

Orange: never liked it. It's the color of traffic cones. And, well, UT, whose fans are over-the-top All About Orange. I'm from Texas; there is only one UT, and its orange is not as obnoxious.

I like orange juice. But that's about all I can say for orange.

My hostile relationship with orange is born out of adolescent trauma. I blame it on my mother. (Isn't your mother responsible for all your deepest problems?) My mother made all my clothes when I was growing up. I viewed this as a serious social handicap. Everyone who has ever been 13 knows that the number one rule is to Blend In. Your jeans need to be exactly like everyone else's jeans. Your skirts need to have come from the same store and bear the same label. Mine didn't have labels. I was a tall gawky girl, and it didn't help me at all that my mother sewed rick-rack along the hems of my dresses to extend their wear as I grew.

When I was 12 or 13, my uncle got married. My aunt is only about 7 years older than me. My little brother and my cousins are 5 years younger than me. So who do you think I wanted to hang with? My 19-year-old aunt-to-be was the definition of cool to me.

For the wedding, my mother made me a very orange a-line dress with an orange bow for my hair and orange window-pane stockings. (It was the 60's.) Amid the fluff of pale pink chiffoned college girls that were the bridesmaids, I stuck out like a very inflamed sore thumb. I will never forget the excrutiating moment when my family pushed me out there into that pink cloud of Barbies to catch the bouquet. I nearly caught it. There's a terrible picture of me somewhere in a wedding album, all arms and legs, a startled orange ugly duckling among a sea of swans.

Since then, me and orange been on bad terms.

But this fall, how can you resist? Every day I walk through my neighborhood, ablaze with leaves and sunlight and mums and pumpkins. Yards that were verdant a month ago are now piled high with the flaming fiery offering of fall. It's like the trees are wildly happy and proud that God has dressed them so gloriously. So yesterday I lay on my patio and looked up into the trees and gave my heart back to orange.

Not that I'll be wearing it, mind you.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ...This will be for the LORD's renown. - Isaiah 55.12-13

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