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The Rev. Benjamin Pratt The Rev. Benjamin Pratt
Dr. Pratt is a retired United Methodist pastor and pastoral counselor. He was the founding pastor of a congregation that remains, after 48 years, one of the most racially integrated of the Virginia Annual Conference. Then, for thirty years he was a pastoral counselor on Capitol Hill and in the City of Fairfax.

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Do you see the world bathed in purple?

May 11, 2015

Purple wild geraniums photo by Benjamin PrattI think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.
Alice Walker,
 The Color Purple

 

 

 

SPRING 2015Once again, I am a caregiver.
Full Time: Surgery, dressing slowly, assisting first steps, hauling out the crutches, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, sitting too many long hours in waiting rooms.
Life is focused.

But, feelings scatter and drain after a bitter, brittle gray winter.
All looks dead! Will life come back?

A caregiver's eyes are trained to watch, search the ground, wherever we go, watching for signs of—
And as we scan the earth, the truth surprises us: It's spring.
The grave of winter bursts in colors—all at once—mint green, porcelain white,
precious pink, radiant red, yummy yellow.
And then—
Purple.
When all seems dead and lost—
The earth gives back such a lavish lavender.
Just pours it out.

Where do I go, when the day is long, to find solace, strength, patience, hope, joy?
I like to walk out in spring.
So many of us have done that—just walked out into the world.
Whitman stepped out as he mourned the loss of his Captain 150 years ago—
and found the lilacs blooming in his dooryard once again.
Walker went with her favorite character—
and found that purple, too.
Where did I find it?
On the old bridge, a patch of oh so lavender wild geraniums.

I bathe in purple.
God's good earth gives back to me, to all of us who walk out into the world and watch.
And then I can turn again to the day's task—
Life lived with purpose: Love, gratitude, care.

And, where do you walk out and let your eyes scan the earth?
Where do you find it?
Your purple.

Purple wild geraniums second photo by Benjamin Pratt
Photographs by Benjamin Pratt.

 

BENJAMIN PRATT has worked for decades as a counselor. He is the author of three books and has contributed to other inspiring books, as well. You are welcome to share this column with friends—you can print it or even repost it, if you wish to spark conversations. If you'd like to enjoy Walt Whitman's verse, we have his When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, as well.

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