Rose-colored Glasses

I was accused recently of wearing rose-colored glasses. The person making the accusation is someone close to me, and she wasn’t speaking in anger or disapproval so much as telling me that she thought I was not looking squarely into the eye of reality. No doubt she was startled when I smiled in response, because we both knew she hadn’t meant it as a compliment.

Still, to me it was positive reinforcement for my general optimism, which has carried me with a good measure of contentment throughout life. I’m glad it’s visible to others.

I don’t believe that “looking squarely into the eye of reality” must mean seeing only what’s negative or threatening or dismal or unsettling. These elements may be found if they are sought. But so are the positive elements: the reasons for joy, the causes of hope, the thriling promises of the possible. That’s where I want to live; that’s where I want my identity to be firmly rooted; that’s the ground out of which I want to sprout my future.

So, don’t be in a hurry to send me to the optometrist for new eyeglasses – I’ll just keep my rose-colored ones. They never go out of style.


Simple Prayer

It is painful to hear people refer to praying as something difficult, something they have trouble doing, something they feel blocked from doing, something they could never do aloud if their lives depended on it. I want to tell them: Here! Read this poem and think about what it is telling you.

The poem is a short and wonderful piece of writing by Mary Oliver that sums up how simple prayer really can be. Its title is “Praying” and it goes: It doesn’t have to be / the blue iris, it could be / weeds in a vacant lot, or a few / small stones; just / pay attention, then patch // a few words together and don’t try / to make them elaborate, this isn’t / a contest but the doorway // into thanks, and a silence in which / another voice may speak.

This poem is from Mary Oliver’s 2007 collection of poems entitled Thirst. I don’t know that prayer could be more simply or beautifully described than as “not a contest, but the doorway.” Nor do I think that further observations from me will add to the power or completeness.