Old cliches: dissecting a silver lining

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 unique forms, and all are stored in our individual brains. We use them to survive, to communicate. So I thought to myself, why not write about a good set of words? And what better set than what we all know as cliché.

Old cliches have played a vital role in our existence as people. I wonder if this thought has ever crossed his mind. How does one seem to automatically think of a good cliché to describe situations? Let me focus on the term “a ray of light” for a moment. John Milton’s phrase, better known as “every cloud has a ray of light” is best described in Wikipedia (the people’s encyclopedia) as a metaphor for optimism and categorized as an idiom. Added is 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 cliche, this pun. Then I realized how great his role has been in the life of an ordinary person! Warn him of the disappointments of life. Like the mention of this metaphor every time we miss the morning bus, arrive 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 data bank as a weapon to handle the unsuspecting Oh my gosh! events.

Moving further, let’s take a deeper look at “a ray of light” 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 well for anyone like 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 ray of light” is proving to be. Three simple words, requiring a clear definition, and once their meaning is clearly understood, they 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 it was his mother. She says, “Let’s talk.” So he walks away from my computer and follows his mother into the kitchen. That place in your home that has become your heart, as in most of our homes. They had been waiting for a large property sale. Her mother has been working on this project for years and it was clearly a good time for her efforts to pay off. It was also a deal that would solve most of his current difficulties and pave the way to a more comfortable life. His mother, beaming with pride, announces that they are about to close a great deal and that all the documents are being prepared, including a paycheck. By this time, all the other members of their family had joined them, and they had all been enthusiastic about the great “blessing.” They were a Catholic family and most of the fortune was attributed to blessings.

The whole family now moves to the next step of looking for a house to buy, calling all 20 real estate brokers. Everyone gets in their car and drives from house to house, from corridor to corridor. Check which house was the best, at the most reasonable price. Even before they closed their eyes to sleep, all their thoughts were on the next closing of this great deal. A week goes by and the same thing happens. Mom knocks on her daughter’s bedroom door, but this time it wasn’t good news. The buyer had momentarily backed down! Ah, a true gosh moment! Now, almost crying mother and daughter sit together in the same kitchen and automatically say: “It could be a blessing of some kind, God surely has something better for us all.” If this mother and child had been Americans, they would surely have used “a ray of light” to save them both from heartbreak and disappointment.

This story clearly shows us how our star-star “a ray of light” has power and weight in even the simplest people, homes, and situations. I could tell another story, this time taking place in the highest court in the country, but it would make my story too long and I don’t want to bore you.

To end this text, I hope to have given “a ray of light” the tribute to its existence in our lives. Hope to see you again when I move to the top second star on my list of old cliches. But until then, remember to keep these three words and their meaning close. They are free and easy to use.

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