Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Paradigm Shift

My favorite color has always been RED. Red is a bold color. To me, it's the color of bravery, honor, love and even strength.  Red had it all.  When planning our wedding it was easy to decide on the color red.

My least favorite color has always been yellow.  Yellow is a weak color.  To me, it's the color of sickness, mild and meek,  just blah. It seems to wash out and pale in comparison to my beloved red.

I remember my first brush with the color yellow.  My hero, my older brother, had been dating his high school sweetheart and proposed; they were planning their wedding.  She picked yellow.  Oh no!  I was only ten but I was sure this was a sign of disaster.  Yellow bridesmaids dresses and the cake lovingly baked and decorated by my mother was white and covered with daisies. Yuck and double yuck!  Somehow I made it through. (40+ years later they're still happily married with three kids and NINE grandkids!!)

Several years ago, my daughters were a part of the youth group at a local church. Of course they needed adult volunteers and I begrudgingly said yes to helping.  Somehow I found myself with a group of seventh and eighth grade girls.  One of the things I did was strive to really get to know these girls and of course I asked their favorite colors.  As we went around the room I heard many colors that were pleasing to my own personal preferances then one young lady replied with the dread "yellow." >>blech<< She was such a sweet girl with an incredible life story but she loved the color yellow.  For the life of me I just couldn't understand loving the color yellow. 

Then I found myself in 2018 & 2019. Adulting had gotten really hard. My parents were in the midst of their descent into #damndementia, Handsome was needing/having back surgery, I was traveling to DC with 27 teenagers then returning home to hernia surgery, my friend Tamara was diagnosed with and fighting a stage IV glioblastoma. One of the happiest, most perky, sassy fun loving friends was handed this dreadful diagnosis and guess what her favorite color was...that's right yucky yellow. (Imagine if you will my eyes are actually leaking as I type...) 

Visiting T in the hospital, we stopped at Walmart on the way and got shirts.
We used Duct tape to create "Team T" shirts!

Tamara was part of our group of moms lovingly known as the "Mom Squad." (This group was "legend" when I met them, they welcomed me with open hearts!) We became family because we all had kids who were members of the Ozark Youth Shooting Team.  This group is a little different than your other sports because from October through the end of July we spent our Tuesday evenings together.  In February (through the end of July) we added in spending all day together every Saturday.  We traveled together to competitions all over Arkansas and also traveled to New Mexico and Pennsylvania together.  We came to consider one another family.  When one of us hurt, we all hurt so when Tamara got sick, we all felt the sting.

The year Tamara spent fighting flew by quickly. I texted her most mornings with a "T-sky" you know those beautiful billowy white clouds on a canvas of blue...at first we would text a bit but it got to where she'd simply respond with a smile emoji, then a "y", then no response because her body wouldn't listen to her brain. I would visit with her and she would smile. I could see the love, faith and fight in her eyes. I would greet her with a gentle hand squeeze and before I would leave her another gentle hand squeeze and a kiss on her forehead. The last time I saw her, she didn't open her eyes...perhaps it was my imagination but when I told her I was going to give her a forehead kiss I believe I could see her slightly tilt her forehead toward me. A few days later, she was gone.

You know what wasn't gone?  That's right...the color yellow. I began to look at it differently. 

Yellow isn't the color of weakness, it's the color of quiet strength.

Yellow isn't the color of sickness, it's the color of fighting for health.

Yellow isn't mild, it's fierce, strong and healthy.

Yellow isn't meek, it's bold and unyielding; brave.

Yellow isn't blah, it's spirited and full of life.

I see yellow differently these days.  I've experienced a paradigm shift. When someone asks my favorite color I proudly tell them it's yellow. Not a day goes by without my thinking of our Sweet T.  When I see the beautiful clouds on that beautiful blue canvas in the sky, I know she is there.  The yellow cannas in my flowerbed and my yellow coffee mug remind me to be strong, fierce, brave and most of all full of life.  



Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.