I am colorblind on the red-green spectrum. Red and green and brown all look the same to me – they all look brown! Most Christmas decorations are red and green, which makes them dull and drab in my eyes. I felt left out of the festivities when I was a boy. I would ask my parents if we could have a flocked tree with blue ornaments and lights. I had seen them in the stores and in catalogs. My father said that they were too expensive, and the flocking would make a mess.
The year that I was in fourth grade, my father took me and my sister to the K Mart on University Drive. Under a tent in the parking lot, he led us to a big beautiful evergreen, with brilliant white flocking and solid blue ornaments and lights. It was beautiful. I could see the colors, my vision even enhanced them. We took that tree home. I knew that my family had made this choice just for me. It was the best Christmas present ever. I wanted that tree to be the last thing I saw when I went to sleep, and the first thing I saw when I woke up.
As an adult, I have always recognized that we are all different, yet we are equally precious. When I worked in healthcare, I made it a priority to appreciate each of my patients for what made them unique. I embraced each of them for who they were, just as they were. It was as if I was painting each of them a canvas, in the colors that they could see, that they could love, that meant the most to them.
Christmas merchandise always goes on sale after Christmas Day, and in December of 2017 Mark took me shopping. I bought a small, potted evergreen that we took to Sidney Sue Graham in her room at her rehab facility. She loved it, as I knew she would. She loved everything! I also found an artificial white tree, which will be in my apartment this year, with blue ornaments and lights.
Heavenly Father allow each of us to see Your light, and to embrace it, in the colors we can see, the colors we can love.
- Kenny Smith, as told to Mark Graham