The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross



Written and presented by Lydia G. Hicks
Quadri-State Convention, Boise, Idaho June 1990


Sometimes in Beta Sigma Phi we are charged with Painting a Living Masterpiece. A Living Masterpiece means just that...real people. And our families, our sisters, our friends are real people. So, it comes down to making friends...appreciating our friends. For when we appreciate anything or anybody we add to the value.

As we begin our Living Masterpiece, let us start with the color RED. The RED ray of COURAGE. We must look for RED in other people.

There is a childrenís book, "Hailstones and Halibut Bones" by Mary OíNeil, which gives us color from a childís point of view. This is what they say about RED.

What is RED? RED is a sunset, blazy and bright. RED is feeling brave with all your might. RED is sunburn. A spot on your nose. Sometimes RED, as a RED, RED rose. RED squiggles out when you cut your hand. RED is a brick and rubber band. RED is hotness you get inside when youíre embarrassed and want to hide. Firecracker, fire flickers RED. RED is an Indian. A valentine heart, the trimming on a circus cart. RED is a lipstick. RED is a shout. RED IS A SIGNAL THAT SAYS "WATCH OUT!" RED is a great big rubber ball. RED is the giantest color of all. RED is a show-off, no doubt about it. But can you imagine living without it?

And so friends, let us see RED as we pursue our ideals, achieve our goals, make new friends and appreciate the old. We may be surprised where we find it.

And now we add another subtle color to our Masterpiece. YELLOW. The flame we carry in our hearts is VISION...not just seeing with 20/20...but, perceiving ... seeing beyond ... understanding .. knowing without proof. We highlight our friends with VISION when we know how great is their love, even though we have not been told.

What Is YELLOW to a child? The feeling of fun, the yolk of an egg, a duckís bill, a canary and a daffodil. YELLOW is sweet corn, ripe oats, hummingbirdís little throats. Summer squash and Chinese silk, the cream on top of Jersey milk. Dandelions and daisy hearts, custard pies and lemon tarts. YELLOW blinks on summer nights in the off...and...on of firefly lights. YELLOW is a topaz, a candle flame. Felicity is a YELLOW name. YELLOW is a mimosa. And I guess, YELLOW is the color of happiness.

We can afford to be bolder as artists. Not just painting with RED COURAGE, but highlighting with YELLOW...VISION. We can say, "This is my life. Iím living it now. I am the artist painting this picture and I am not afraid." From our palette we have chosen to add to our Living Masterpiece with BLUE. Already our painting shows courageous strokes of RED and vivid highlights of YELLOW. They are compelling colors that show we have the COURAGE to make new friends and the VISION to see not only what is visible, but the great truths and ideals that cannot be seen.

But, now we approach our painting with HUMILITY...HUMILITY in its' original meaning...modesty, unpretentiousness, meekness. Where we can approach our new friend and say honestly, "I want nothing from you except yourself." It is a sense of honor which causes us to seek nothing for ourselves and when we have done a favor for another to put a seal on our lips and forget what we have done.


And what does a child say about BLUE? What is BLUE? BLUE is the color of the sky without a cloud, cool, distant, beautiful and proud. BLUE is the quiet sea, and the eyes of some people. And many agree, as they grow older and older, BLUE is the scarf spring wears on her shoulder. BLUE is twilight, shadows on snow. BLUE is a feeling way down low. BLUE is a heron, a sapphire ring. You can smell BLUE in many a thing, gentians and larkspur, forget-me-nots, too. And, if you listen you can hear BLUE In wind over water and wherever flax blooms. And, where evening steps into lonely rooms. Cold is BLUE. Flame shot from a welding torch is, too. Hot, wild, screaming, blistering BLUE. And on winter morning the dawns are BLUE.

So, today we add a quiet BLUE to our Living Masterpiece. We will know moments of meditation...of inspiration...of insight and humble knowledge that we do not walk alone.

And now we concern ourselves with ORANGE...the color that we Beta Sigma Phiís associate with LOYALTY...FAITHFULNESS...FIDELITY.

LOYALTY means many things and I beg of you...let your Living Masterpiece show them. LOYALTY means being there when you have promised. It also means being there when you havenít promised. It means stand up for...your sisters, your chapter, your organization and sometimes it means standing by. It means seeing our sisters as they really are... how they mean to be in spite of how they sometimes appear. LOYALTY is steadfastness...and what we feel for our sisters and our chapter must spill over to our community, our country, our world. The ORANGE of our LOYALTY.

What is a childís idea of ORANGE? What is ORANGE? ORANGE is tiger lily, a carrot, a feather from a parrot. A flame, the wildest color we can name. ORANGE is a happy day, saying good-bye in a sunset that shocks the sky. ORANGE is BRAVE. ORANGE is BOLD. Itís bittersweet and marigold. ORANGE is a zip, ORANGE is dash, the brightest stripe in a Roman sash. ORANGE is an orange, also a mango. ORANGE is music of the tango. ORANGE is the fur of the fiery fox. The brightest color in a crayon box. And in the fall when the leaves are turning, ORANGE is the smell of a bonfire burning. In the joyous season ahead, let the child in all of us see the ORANGE lily, the ORANGE sunset, the brightest crayon in the box.

And not only see these things, these values, but paint them into our Living Masterpiece. Let us know again moments of meditation, of inspiration, of loyalty, of insight...and the sure knowledge that we do not have to walk alone.

GREEN is a lovely color. What is GREEN? GREEN is the grass and the leaves of trees. GREEN is the smell of the country breeze. GREEN is lettuce and sometimes the sea. When GREEN is a feeling you pronounce it envy. GREEN is a coolness you get in the shade, of the tall old woods where the moss is made. GREEN is a flutter that comes in spring when frost melts out of everything. GREEN is a grasshopper, GREEN is jade, GREEN is hiding in the shade. GREEN is the world after the rain, bathed and beautiful again. Apple is GREEN, peppermint, too. Every elf has one GREEN shoe. Under the grape arbor air is GREEN with sparkles of sunlight in between. GREEN is the meadow, GREEN is the fuzz that covers up where winter was. GREEN ivy and honeysuckle vine, GREEN is yours, GREEN is mine.

To most Beta Sigma Phiís...GREEN means FELLOWSHIP. FELLOWSHIP friendship...based on a common bond, common interest, common purposes, common ideals, a common plan. A community of interests...all of which we the room and in our chapters.

A search for beauty, truth, love...a common determination to improve, to reach for the stars! A tolerance for fellowman, our sisters, family, whomever. And we are stronger because of our fellowship. There is strength in numbers, courage in groups, daring amid the multitude. In the coming weeks, let us meditate on the GREEN of FRIENDSHIP, the elf with one GREEN shoe. ..the joy and knowledge that we do not walk alone.

And now from our palette, we add VIOLET to our Living Masterpiece. To Beta Sigma Phiís VIOLET means SERVICE. We cannot seek help and confirmation this time from Mary OíNeil. Why? Because VIOLET is not a childís color. Purple, yes. VIOLET, no. VIOLET does not have the boldness of is more subtle, more mature. Doesnít that tell us something? SERVICE is not childís play. We cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot give something we have not yet received. Just as VIOLET is composed of a calculated measure of RED, with a calculated measure of, service can only be given with a calculated measure of courage and as a calculated measure of humility.

SERVICE is our gift to life...forgetting about ourselves in the process.
SERVICE...that performance of duty, which lightens the burdens of another and lightens the darkness of ourselves.
SERVICE...assistance without expansion of ourselves because we ask no return. Perhaps, after all, we do have to return to a childís thinking as we paint VIOLET... SERVICE into our Living Masterpiece.

William Wadsworth wrote only one four line poem and he called it, "To A Child."

"Small service is true service while it lasts
Of humblest friends, brightest creatures scorn not one.
The the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew droop from the sun."

In our study of color, we come now to the ultimate...the RAINBOW.

Dan Freeman has written a delightful childrenís book which has this opening sentence, "Today, I saw a rainbow. It was so beautiful I wanted to catch it for my own." Read the little book sometime entitled, "A Rainbow of My Own." You will find yourself being a kid again. And, whatís wrong with that?

During the last few minutes we have made our own rainbow. Now let us look again at itsí entirety.


And do you know what impresses me? Man didnít have a single thing to do with all that glory in the sky. And from our rituals:

"The sum of all these colors is BEAUTY...with them we shall paint loveliness on the canvas of life." "And by the spectrum we shall see how to make a festival of every day. It shall unfold for us the numberless flowers of spring, the waving branches of trees, the starry skies, the tumbling sea...the rising and setting sun."



And now we come to the end of the that Pot of Gold that all humanity seeks. And here again, we are lucky because we know what is in that treasure at the end of the rainbow.

As each of the six colors go back to the atmosphere from which they come...they blend into one great color...WHITE. As each of our six virtues become part of us and blend together, they become LOVE. The clear white light of not only lights our way, it serves as a beacon to others. In dark times, it shows us the way. In good times, it reminds us how we got to this point. There will be times when the white light is not as visible as say the red ray that gives courage, or the violet ray that tells us we should serve others. Perhaps, we will need the blue light of humility to remind us we cannot find our way alone.

But, having been this way before...we have, we know that all these colors, all of these conditions are just part of the great white light of LOVE.

From our ritual:
"We must live our lives so that the great white light shining through us is a perfect reflection of all these colors."




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