She lived not far from one of the small churches I served on a mountain circuit when I was in college decades ago. I met her when she came to visit me in the hospital where I had been admitted with something (probably mononucleosis) that no one could diagnose. As a result, I spent a week being treated for infection and undergoing various tests.
I don’t recall her name, but I do remember her identity in her community–she was the “Woman in the Polka Dot House.” Looking up as the nurse ushered her in, I noticed her bouncy step, dark hair, and a white dress with blue polka dots. Surely, she must have come to the wrong room, I thought.
She seemed to read my mind. “I heard you was sick, preacher, so I come to pray fer ya.”
Out of the blue (pardon the pun), I blinked and said, “Well, thank you. I don’t think we’ve met.”
“Everybody knows me. I don’t go to church…but I belong and send my money.” She mentioned the name of the road where she lived. “You can’t miss my house…it’s the one with the blue polka dots.”
“Blue polka dots? That’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house painted like that.”
“I painted it that way ’cause I love polka dots and blue is my favorite color. Blue polka dots make me feel happy. I just like to share happiness.”
We conversed and prayed together, then she left. When other church members came to visit, I asked about her. “She works in town,” they told me. “Some folks think she’s a might strange, especially after she painted them polka dots on her house. Nobody knows why she done it.”
Within a few weeks I had recovered enough to resume pastoral work. I found the polka dot house and knocked on the door. There was no answer. Remembering that she worked in town, I left a note thanking her for her hospital visit, and inviting her to Sunday services.
I saw little of her after that, but I never forgot the polka dot house, or the prayer from the woman who lived there. She had created an eye-catching identity for herself that expressed joy and excitement about life.
The blue polka dot house raises a personal thought. What images do I project? When someone thinks of me, is it with joy and appreciation? Is my faith visible and intriguing when I share what gives me joy? Is my joy contagious?
Jesus told his followers, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16) I love that verse, in fact, I wrote a novel around it (Secrets at Lighthouse Point.) I think it fits this story.
Does it fit you? What images do you project in your living that express your faith and give joy, value, meaning, and encouragement to others? What’s your “Polka Dot ID”?