“S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ’cause you were black… A guy needs somebody – to be near him… I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” ~John Steinbeck, Of Mice & Men
A distant memory flashed by after
hearing the news last night.
I’m at hospital, sick while a 4th grader & the doctor asks,
“what is your favorite color?”
A feeling of, perhaps, despair added to my weakness,
“I think I don’t have a favorite, sir.”
I slept a lot getting over that bout with dehydration & anemia.
Later I awoke, and upon seeing a picture of Jesus on the wall
talking to children while tending sheep in a lush, grassy meadow,
I told the doctor that my favorite color was green.
Compared with my inner weather & the cloudiness outside
green seemed appealingly calming and alive.
“Are there colors you don’t like?,” he then asked.
Somehow I remembered playing in the fireplace and my hand getting burned.
“Red makes me afraid”, I said. I guess at that time,
it meant that I didn’t like it.
Looking back, he might have been distracting me from my fatigue & ill-health,
but it was curious when he asked, “so you like green more than red?”
“I think so, or maybe, I don’t know for sure,” I said.
I thought about the harlequin ice cream my
parched dry throat was craving; white, brown, pink;
vanilla, chocolate & strawberry seemed equally appealing.
“To see orange sunsets, blue skies or grassy fields
is a precious gift. All colors are gifts for our eyes”, he said.
“Can I learn to like red again, is that possible?”
He looked at me & smiled,
“if you want to like it, you will find its beauty.
All rainbow’s colors, in fact, all things have their purpose & beauty.”
“Remember to drink water during the day
to get over your dehydration, young man.
Pay attention to what you like & especially
to what you don’t like.
When people or other living things
they could die.
And when those dark rains fall
we all bleed the same.”
Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world. ~Thich Nhat Hanh, from the 5 mindfulness trainings