Nancy draped the colored swatch of fabric under my chin and across my shoulders.
“Oh, yes!” she said. “Purple is a good color for you, especially the lilacs and lavenders.”
“But I don’t like purple!” I protested. “I never wear it!”
At the end of every month our women’s Bible study group has a potluck with an activity just for fun, like watching a movie or playing card games. This evening, Nancy, our hostess and formerly a color consultant at a corporate level, had offered to ‘do’ our colors for us. She nodded once, then spoke to the group, “Please don’t feel that just because I say a color is good for you that you have to wear it.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” I said teasingly and ducked as Nancy playfully swatted her hand at me.
“You know,” she said, “Often we have strong aversions to a particular color because we associate it with some incident from the past that was uncomfortable or hurtful.”
I knew I could share anything with my sisters in the Lord. I confessed, “When I was about ten my parents were having a new house built. I don’t want to sound like a big whiner, even though that’s what I was, but I wanted to choose the color for the bedroom my sister and I were to share in the new house. My mom said no, that it was her prerogative. She went with a lavender tint in the wall plaster and made lavender gingham-checked curtains for the window. She bought comforters for our beds in a matching shade of light purple. Sure, it looked nice but I was mad because it wasn’t what I wanted. And right then and there I decided I didn’t like purple!”
We all laughed and then I said, “But that wasn’t the only time I was offended by purple. Where I went to high school the colors were purple and white. I definitely don’t count high school as the high point of my life. I felt awkward and ugly most of the time. On several occasions as I walked down the hallway, some of the so-called ‘popular’ boys barked at me. It seemed like those four years were an endless succession of humiliating and embarrassing events. I was so relieved to graduate and move on.”
“How long ago was that, if you don’t mind my asking,” one of the gals asked.
“Oh, only about thirty-five years,” I said, my voice subdued.
Looking around at the circle of sweet, sympathetic faces, I admitted, “I guess my reaction to purple has come along with me like an old bruise.”
“It’s understandable,” Nancy said. “Those were some real ‘ouches’.”
“Yes,” I replied, “But I think I’m going to do a little research on the color purple when I get home.”
I found that purple is referenced as a sign of royalty, a symbol of spirituality, given in medals to soldiers who’d been wounded or killed in battle, and of course, in a variety of flowers.
It occurred to me that one of my very favorite flowers is the lilac. We’d lived in a house at one time that had a huge lilac bush growing in the back yard. I found comfort in the fragrant aroma of its grapelike clusters of blossoms.
I enjoy the soothing aspects of lavender too. I’ve put sprigs of lavender in my concoctions of rose petal potpourri and a friend has given me body care products with lavender in them to promote relaxation.
My research led me to my closet where evidence shows that I do wear purple. One of my favorite dresses, a simple linen shift bought quite a number of years ago and worn often in the summer, is a pastel lavender. Nancy did say especially lavender and lilac. Obviously I’m okay with that.
I think I’m ready for that old bruise on my heart to finally fade away.
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