"My Mother Taught Me Purple"

I snapped today.

Something is haunting me, gnawing deep within.

I've been thinking about some of the conversations we've had with some of our children's families. I've been considering how several times now I've heard the comment, "It's okay if my child doesn't become anyone special. It's okay if they're just like me."

There's a poem I've taught my students almost every year of the last twelve:

"My Mother Taught Me Purple"

My mother taught me purple
Although she never wore it.

Wash-gray was her circle,
The tenement her orbit.

My mother taught me golden
And held me up to see it,
Above the broken molding, 
Beyond the filthy street.

My mother reached for beauty
And for its lack she died,
Who knew so much of duty
She could not teach me pride.

So I'm aware we're not all English teachers, but bear with me.

Here, the poet Evelyn Hunt, who actually displays aspects of her own life through her poetry, describes an impoverished, urban, single-mother, who is trying to survive. Though this mother fights to survive, her greater fight is to instill vision in her child, to implant within him that he was made more. However, in the end, though she's whispered day after day these truths within her child's ears, she fails to demonstrate before him the truths of self-respect and dignity that are required to obtain and fight for the vision she had created for her child.

I was recently talking to an older foster child who explained to me how she wasn't worried about when she aged out of the system. She would simply apply for disability and welfare, and "get by," with responsibility to no one. Why not? That's how her mother did it.

Deep within, it shadows my soul to think there are numerous cultures who have given up on vision, on hoping, on believing that they were made for more than themselves, for more than survival.

Yet, dig a little deeper with me

I look at that momma or that daddy and ache for them to rise above. And, it's so easy to quickly point fingers at financial observations, life choices, education hindrances, or political programs that have enabled and held them in this place. Those are real factors. 


Isn't that me, too? 
Isn't that you? 
Isn't it all of us?

Isn't there a subtle place where we allow ourselves to forget that we were made for more than what this world tells us? 

Isn't there a looming weight that forces us to believe we must fight to survive, and abandon hoping or creating visions for beyond? 

Isn't there a story we've been told that tells us we're the main character, and if we make it through today, we've survived?

Is it possible that we've forgotten like that Momma that we are princesses and our Father is the King of Kings?

Is it possible that we've lost sight of the fact that our sons and husbands were made to be warriors for the High King who holds the keys of Sin and Death?

Is it possible that we've distanced ourselves from the One who already obtained the victory for us, just so eternity could be implanted in our hearts? 

So that we could remember, we were made for more than what this world holds out to us?

We were made for Jesus.


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  3. so neat to see my great grandmother's art still touching hearts :)