My young granddaughter was working on an art project for a homework assignment. The requirements stated it needed to have the majority of the work done using only black and white components.
She would finish a rough draft, crumple it up and toss it in the wastebasket. I observed this for quite a long time. Finally, I asked, “What’s the problem, Sweetie?”
Being only nine years old, she sighed and stated, matter-of-factly, “It needs a little pretty, Grandma.”
I was a bit confused by that answer and asked her to explain.
“Well, I know it’s supposed to be black and white, but it needs just a teeny, tiny little speck of color to make it pretty. It can be in a corner or somewhere, but it can’t just be all black and white, can it? It’s so depressing.”
I reread the teacher’s instructions and pointed out where it said the majority had to be black and white, not the total picture.
She tried once more, drawing an image of a flower with long leaves attached to the stem. Everything was black and white with the exception of a tiny red ladybug she placed on one of those leaves.
She was smiling at her work and the addition of a bit of pretty.
I thought about her initial perceived dilemma and remembered my observations during a recent trip through some of the poorest areas in a neighboring state.
The houses were small and the exteriors, where presumably, there had once been paint, were dingy and in desperate need of repair.
The yards were devoid of grass, with every square foot taken up by rusted appliances and sagging furniture.
However, many of them had a small inexpensive basket or two of flowers hanging from nails on the sagging top board of the front porch.
At the time, I wondered if the few dollars spent on the flowers couldn’t have been put to better use, possibly.
But now I was reconsidering…maybe the person who lived there needed a little pretty in their black and white world of poverty, just as my granddaughter needed it in her picture.
A little more reflection caused my mind to consider my world some days; my emotional world, my physical world and my spiritual world. Without too much prompting, I can fall into the black and white landscape of depressing thoughts, words and actions.
It can be due to a relationship struggle, a financial hardship, an illness, constant pain or a myriad of other reasons.
Whatever they are, I allow them to remove all color from my world and cast me into a black and white state. So even though my porch of emotions is sometimes sagging, all the paint has peeled off my walls, and the yard is littered with broken dreams and promises, I need to take the time to put a little pretty in it.
That’s when I need to reach for my bible to read some scripture verses or listen to a song I particularly like or take a walk and consider all the beauty God has placed in my world.
He didn’t intend for us to live in total black and white surroundings. We all need to add a little pretty.
Gloria Doty is a published Christian author, writer and speaker. She has published a non-fiction book, a devotion book, a series of fiction romance books and several children’s picture books. Gloria has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. She has recently re-married and she and her husband reside in Fort Wayne, IN.