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All that glitters

Sean Dietrich is a columnist who lives in the Florida Panhandle. Under the moniker “Sean of the South,” he writes about life down South.

One reader, worried about her daughter’s fight for life in an intensive care unit, emailed him from the waiting room at 1:37 a.m. to ask what he believed about hope. Sean, whose father had committed suicide when he was 12, is qualified to speak about the need for and the reality of hope. He said that hope is like a shaker of arts and craft glitter, explaining with this contemporaneous story: “Yesterday my wife visited my cousin’s kid’s playroom where unsupervised children were playing with illegal quantities of glitter. Their sparkly hands touched my wife, who in turn touched me. And that was all it took. Currently, there are stubborn pieces of glitter in my teeth, on my keyboard and in my eye sockets … and somehow I’ll pass it on … because you can’t end glitter. It really hangs on.”

My wife loves glitter. In December, glistening specks accompany gifts and cards and old decorations we pull out to display again. After Christmas, we vacuum up as many of them as we can. In March, when we’ve totally forgotten about glitter, one silver speck lurking in a desk drawer or a sweater surfaces.

We hand-brush glitter off each other whenever we see it, saying, “Hold still, you’ve got glitter under your right eye.”

Glitter is a little, or a lot, like hope. Even though you’re not thinking about it, it’s still there. It keeps hanging around, coming back, showing up when you least expect it.

Almost microscopic, made from discarded, scrapped and recycled plastic or aluminum, glitter has a peculiar beauty. Sometimes, like hope, a gold one appears, and, like hope, brings a knowing smile.