The Color Purple

The Color Purple

The title of this post is The Color Purple, which is also the title of Alice Walker’s well-known novel.The title refers to the following line in the book: 
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

The point is that people are supposed to please God–in whatever form God takes for them–but also that God tries to please people by providing things as lovely as the color purple. Therefore, God gets annoyed when people just walk by purple things.
You have to admit that it is pretty rude not to notice when someone does something to please you. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who is guilty of having failed to do that on an awful lot of occasions.

In my previous relationship, I didn’t notice and acknowledge the “purple” that my ex planted regularly in the form of acts of service–that’s his love language. For example, he was a wonderful cook. He always made nice suppers even after long days at school. Sometimes, I’d gripe about the time he spent making those meals. I would have preferred a sandwich and some time to talk. But preparing a meal was part of his love language and I didn’t recognize it as such. His acts of service continued even after we broke up. 

For example, last year, when my s.o. and I were getting ready to leave for the world championships, my ex dropped by. He’d made us lunch for our trip–huge, gourmet sandwiches, mustard on mine and mayo on my s.o.’s, giant dill pickles, homemade, chocolate chip cookies, beautiful, red apples, and napkins all neatly packaged and ready for our journey. “So you guys don’t have to rely on gas station food along the way” he said.

I posted about my ex’s kindness on my Facebook status that day. There were over 100 likes and a ton of comments. Those were the most likes I’d ever had on a status in fact. A few people thought it was weird that my ex would do such a thing. Most, though, just saw the “purple” in the gesture.
I don’t know how much difference it would have made in the end, but I wish I’d done a better job of “noticing purple” in my previous relationship  It was there to be noticed and I regret that I did not, at least not often enough. Luckily, life gives us second chances to get it right.
In my current relationship, I work at noticing and expressing appreciation for the smallest things. “Hey, thanks for emptying the dishwasher” or “I was happy to find the laundry folder when I got home today.”My s.o. and I are committed to not making the same mistakes we made in our previous relationships. We try hard to stay in tune with what we do when we do it to avoid falling into old patterns. Of course, we fail at this often enough. We know, though, that a new relationship just turns into the old one if the partners repeat old behaviors with each other. We work hard so that won’t happen.
I’ve learned that looking for purple becomes a habit when you do it regularly. My s.o. tells me it makes him feel good when I thank him or praise him for something nice he’s done, no matter how small. I think noticing the small things may be as, if not more, important than noticing the grander gestures that occur less often.
This is not the most profound thing anyone has ever written, but it is what’s on my mind. Be on the lookout for purple–in other people, in the things they do, and in the world around you. It’s there. Take a look around you. Notice what you notice. Appreciate what you see. Tell others. Tell me. It won’t cost you anything and it just might cause good things to happen in your life and that of another person.
As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

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