I stood in the humidity of the summer evening, fireflies lit the landscape. A friend commented on all the greens of the trees and grasses. How the greens here are different from the greens north of us from the greens of Kentucky and the greens of Georgia and the greens we knew from California.
As the evening cooled I thought of the colorful people we know.
One of the most colorful had graced our evening with her flourishing spirit and delightful laugh and curiously probing conversation.
I am fascinated and saddened that some of the most colorful individuals believe themselves to be the most burdensome.
You know the ones I mean. The Apologizers.
The Apologizers constantly tell us they are sorry.
"I'm sorry" is their favorite refrain. Sorry for what? "I don't know."
For being too much.
For talking too long.
For singing too loudly.
For skipping too fast.
For laughing too quickly.
For asking too many questions.
For living too intensely.
For shining too brightly.
Sorry for being their colorful flourishing selves.
Sorry for what?
I don't know.
The thing of it is, I delight in these too much, too long, too loud, too fast, too quick, too questioning, too intense, too bright flourishers. I thrill at their myriad greens and the flashes of light they bring to the landscapes of my life.
I remember a day when my now-twenty-two-year-old was in 5th grade. It was Friday of teacher appreciation week and all the teachers were enjoying lunch together while the kids ate in their classrooms. I was the mom who got to spend the hour with those wonderful 9-10-11 year-olds.
A bright little flourisher in Aaron's class had her Friday ice cream treat and was going at it with gusto. I knew the kids well. I had been driving them, feeding them, smiling at them, reminding them, mothering them, and all-around villaging them with all the other parents at our wonderful Memphis City School for five years.
On the back row of the room, chocolate smeared all over the lower half of her face, Brittany was experiencing the full joy of a good week's reward. This precious multicolored flourisher was not going to have "I'm sorry" shamed into her by the laughter of her peers on my watch. All who happened to glance back were redirected with a gentle smile and a wink.
When my sweet little friend finished her tasty treat, she trotted happily down to the restroom to wash up.
No one made a peep.
To all of the greens and reds and oranges and pinks and blues and grays and purples and browns and yellows and whatever other colors, bright or dark or shiny or matte, who light up my life and the lives of others, please hear this:
May you always stand tall and know that you are beloved and adored.
That you are valued for who you are.
That you are created by God as an Image Bearer of God.
No. Need. To. Apologize.
But if and when you do, I won't judge you for it.
Lover of so many greens,
Christine Fox Parker