After staring at my computer for three long hours, listening to Peter White’s Just Another Day over and over again on iTunes, it suddenly hit me! How our whole world has been filled with words. They come in sets, although some are effective in their singular forms, and all are stored in our individual brains. We use them to survive, to communicate. So I thought, why not write about a good set of words? And what better setting than the one we all know as a cliché.
Old clichés have played a vital role in our existence as people. I wonder if this thought has ever crossed their minds. How does one seem to automatically think of a good cliché to describe situations? Let me focus on the term “a silver lining” for a moment. John Milton’s phrase, better known as “every cloud has a silver lining”, is best described on Wikipedia (the popular encyclopedia) as a metaphor for optimism and is classified as an idiom. Added George Lansbury’s cartoon drawing of a man experiencing heavy rain, protected by his “Brolski” as he called it, with the word incorruptibility written on the umbrella. Delving into this cliché, this play on words. Then I realized how big his role has been in the life of a normal person! Advertise him from life’s disappointments. Like the mention of this metaphor every time we miss the morning bus, are late for an important meeting, lose a job, there seems to be an endless list of situations where this phrase could better serve its good purpose. Well worth keeping intact in one’s databank as a weapon to handle the unsuspecting. Oh my gosh! events.
Going further, let’s take a deeper look at “a silver lining” as a member of the long list as something similar to a sentence. In a situation where a loved one is lost, be it a friend, a lover, a neighbor, or even a dog. Wouldn’t these three words work just as well for anyone as a sentence would? Doesn’t it give us the same feeling of being saved from a bad feeling? As the dissection progresses, I begin to realize how powerful “a silver lining” is. Three simple words, which require a clear definition, and once their meaning is clearly understood, can be used as an effective tool of some kind.
The other week, a good friend told me a story. He heard a light knock on his bedroom door and was pleasantly surprised to discover that she was his mother. She says, “Let’s talk.” So she walks away from her computer and follows her mother into the kitchen. That place in her home that she has become the heart of, as in most of our own homes. They had been expecting a very large property sale. Her mother has been working on this project for years and it was clearly a good time for her efforts to be well rewarded. It was also a deal that would solve most of his current difficulties and pave the way to a more comfortable life. Her mother, beaming with pride, announces that they are about to close a big deal and that she is already working on all the paperwork, including a paycheck. By this time, all the other members of her family had joined them, and everyone had been excited about the great “blessing”. They were a Catholic family and most of the fortune was attributed to blessings.
The whole family now goes to the next step of looking for a house to buy, calling the 20 realtors. They all jump into their vehicle and drive from house to house, from corridor to corridor. Keep track of which house was the best, at the most reasonable price. Even before they closed their eyes to sleep, their thoughts were focused on the upcoming closing of this great business. A week goes by and the same thing happens. The mother knocks on the door of her daughter’s room, but this time it was not good news. The buyer had momentarily retracted! Ah, a true Oh-My-God moment! Now, almost crying mother and daughter sit together in the same kitchen and automatically say: “it could be a blessing of some kind, surely God has something better for all of us”. If this mother and her son had been Americans, they would surely have used “a silver lining” to save them both from heartbreak and disappointment.
This story clearly shows us how our “ray of light” star of stars has both power and weight in even the simplest of people, homes, and situations. I could tell another story, this time taking place in the highest court on earth, but it would make my story too long and I don’t want to bore you.
At the end of this text, I hope to have given “a silver lining” the tribute to his existence in our lives. Hope to see you again when I move up to the second top star on my Old Cliches list. But until then, remember to keep these three words and their meaning close at hand. They are free and easy to use.