In the mid-eighties to late nineties I was a decorator. My husband and I had our own version of Chip and Joanna Fixer Upper stories. He built and remodeled homes and I decorated. The kids went on a few of the job sites and enjoyed playing in the mounds of dirt, paint, or climbing on the structures. We had thought at one time the marketing events, business aspects, design and architectural elements would become something each child would gravitate to something within this family business. One of our jobs was a relative who loved the color pink. She wanted to find a pale pink, medium pink, and darker pink shade as her color palette.
Color and its symbolism holds some meaning for me. Pink is a positive color for love, sensitivity, and tenderness to name a few attributes of the color pink. During this overwhelming saturation in the color pink I was asked to head up the cotton candy booth for the school carnival. My husband picked up the cotton candy machine and the pink sugar that would become the puffy clouds of fluff and stuff floating through the air of my kitchen. We made hundreds of bags for the booth supply. We cleaned sticky residue of cotton candy off the walls, curtains, and kitchen table. The color pink invaded my days of a decorating project and school carnival for some time.
The beauty of this color did please our loved one as she finally had the home of her dreams with some shade of pink in every room. The palest shade of paint was called fluff and stuff and looked very close to the light pink haze of cotton candy hanging around my kitchen. Those days were demanding schedules for the balance of family, business, and charity fundraiser for a school.
Today I am a hospice chaplain with different demanding schedules of family, business of healthcare, and charity focus. In a meeting, a phrase caught my ear. “Let’s get to the bottom line of matters today. We don’t need any of the fluff and stuff about people’s stories.” There was that color name for the palest pink coming up from my memory bank of one of my own stories.
To be a holder of another’s story is more than fluff and stuff. There is something sacred in the act of being a witness, a spiritual director, and for many the last minister that will pray with them and for them. The symbolism of the color pink also reflects other characteristics. The words are faithfulness and beauty.
There is a responsibility to faithfulness in hearing the details of another person’s life stories. There is a beauty in the art of listening. A person’s life stories is beyond the fluff and stuff that colors their perspectives or the sticky residue of the attributes that rests in unfinished business at the end of their days.
Let us be mindful of the stories that make up a life. Let us reflect on the symbolism and characteristics that inform us of who we are in the uniquely wonderfully made story of us. (Ps. 139: 14) Jesus encouraged and taught through parables and story. He encouraged us to have ears that hear and eyes that see. (Luke 8:8) I pray we see the essence and nuances of all the shades and shadows, light and brilliance of our stories that make us up who we are and hear God’s unconditional love that desires to color our lives with Him.