There are only two kinds of people in the world that really count.          One kind’s wheat and the other kind’s emerald.

~ Edna Ferber


My, would you look at all those rows of purple!” she exclaims, eyes shining, reminding me of a grown Anne Shirley, bumping along in a rickety wagon beside a disgruntled driver.  Seeing beauty…naturally as breath… in the ordinary.

“Humph!” he sniffs barely glancing up. Rolling his eyes with a shrug that silently says… crazy woman.   “Them’s just cabbages,” he grunts, dismissing.

“Oh, but they’re emerald,” she breathes, undaunted. “I never thought before of what they looked like, actually growing in the ground…”

Tetched, is what he’s thinking. And her, the new schoolteacher.

I’m watching a scene in a 1953 movie gem called, So Big…and Selina, played by Jane Wyman… a young girl who has just lost her beloved father to sudden death and financial ruin.  Now reduced from 1890’s opulent Chicago mansion to the rented loft of a rural family’s Little House type home, Selina reflects on words her father painted on her heart as a child…   Cherished words that set her winging beyond her circumstances, enable her to truly let the monetary stuff sift away like gold dust, without regret – exchanged now for jeweled hope: Selina, there are two kinds of people in this world…

I see her live and impart these wondrous words over and over again in her hardworking life, like blessing bestowed or crown honor be-knighting… First upon the young boy Roelf, son of the one who thought her…mmm… tetched.  One who dreams of books and music but feels trapped in the farm fields of his home.  Sees no way out from under his dominating dad.

So BigThe world needs both “emeralds” and “wheat,” she explains.  Emeralds being those people, like Roelf, who appreciate and create beauty.  And wheat, those who work the land, providing the necessities of life.

You… you are emerald,” she breathes into him… setting the impetus to his becoming a world-renown pianist.  “And I am wheat…

Yet…oh…beneath the care-worn visage of a woman who becomes a young widow purposing to sell her produce, earn and build a wonderful life for her small son,                                        I see… emerald.

Perhaps, each of us is a bit of both… I ponder.  My heart yearns for emerald. Always has. Yet, I’ve spent much of life being wheat, working at what would earn my living but not necessarily bring beauty…

Still…  I’m happiest when I’m creating…

SO BIGSo Big,” as Selina dubs her son, “life is full of mystery and beauty,” she says.   It’s also grueling in many ways, for she fights a 1900 world where men don’t give women the time of day in the marketplace.

Yet, whether sleeping under a worn tapestry blanket in a farm wagon to assure their place in the Chicago Haymarket morning lineup, or traveling in that beat-up old wagon to sell her produce alongside magnificent homes where she once resided – she relates it all as adventure to this boy of such promise. Seizes the moment to inspire her son, asking how he might redesign the often forbidding, dark and dungeon-looking homes around them. Builds in him an eye to dream.

“I think I’d open them up with lots of windows, bring in the light,” he muses.

Life is adventure.

Baghdad, she calls it.  Finding Aladdin’s lamp, he grins.

While I watch and listen, I think of those who bring emerald and wheat around us.  Like in the child’s traveling game of rock, paper, scissors, I count them off in my mind…

“Your dad shows his love to us everyday by being such a wonderful provider,” my mom’s long ago words echo back to me now.  Ripples on water across my memory.  I think too, of all those long hours he spent working weekends on our yard… tired and dusty and spent.

Mmm… Wheat….

I remember other words she said, too…  “He was a child prodigy at the piano,” she amazes me, for I’ve never seen or heard him play.  “So much so, that a wealthy woman once proposed adopting him to sponsor his music.”  My dad?


I think of my mother’s mom… creating her own needlepoint patterns.  Intricate leaves and flowers stitched in jewel tone colors across cushions on those mahogany chairs with the graceful carved arms and legs.  Or making Old World pastry delicacies into works of art.

Of mom, whose love of music soared into my own heart… and of all the wardrobes she sewed, the coziness and daily cleaning she gave each room in the house, the way she decorated for parties on limited funds, all to give us loveliness.

Of my favorite teacher who made poetry and writing shine deeper inside me.  And of friends who have that Martha Stewart touch I love…  Still others who put jete in my heart as they dance en pointe

Emerald, all.

Wonder falls on my spirit then,  like a whisper, and as I listen and hear…

I see another image, living in my mind of our Lord… walking miles and miles of dusty roads.  Fishing from a boat.  Carpentering with his earthly father…


And of the One who placed a STAR shining over His cradle in Bethlehem.  Still sends angels to sing His peace and glory upon us.  Teaches glory and light and life and healing. Turns water into wine.  Multiplies loaves and fishes.  Ever encourages us to look up…know our Father’s heart…move in miracles even as He…

I see Him stealing away to rest in the beauty of a gardenfind moments of peace on a boat floating on shimmering diamond waves… enjoy the perfume poured out from a woman’s grateful heart…spend time alone with His Father. Urging us to recognize and be with the Bridegroom while we have Him… to live in the joy of His strength, give Him our burdens and know His lightness of heart… look forward to the wedding feast of the Lamb… receive His Holy Spirit…take heart in the beauty all around…


As this poignant movie comes to a close, So Big grows up into Dirk – the much-ambitious architect. For a bit of time, he forgets these shining truths…nearly succumbs to what’s false in this world…  At the bidding of an artist woman friend he loves and Roelf – the now world renown musician – he reluctantly takes them to see Selina in her humble but lovely home. Dirk sees only a working farm.  But the others see…emerald.

“A place of warmth and simple beauty,” says Roelf lovingly, as he enters her door. “Just like Selina.”   Out in the lush farm fields they spot her.  She shields her eyes from the sun, trying to see who has come… recognizes them…comes running.

Later, alone…Selina encourages Dirk once more. He is losing the woman he loves because of his over ambition, abandoned dreams.  She reminds him of emerald.   “I’m wheat,” she says, “and I’m happy.  But you… you won’t be happy until you return to your heart.”   In a sudden epiphany, he sweeps her into a waltz, remembering.

Baghdad, Mom!” he sings out…  “Baghdad!”

With a lump in my throat, I muse on Selina calling herself wheat when she is so much more... And on the color streams of life

We can be green with envy.

Emerald with joy.

Golden like wheat.

Or sometimes… a mix of all.

I like to think, He’s smoothing out the rough parts…making me emerald…with a touch of glimmering wheat.  And that I hear his affirming whisper…yes, beloved... over me.

How do you see yourself? 

© Pam Depoyan

Linked this post to Sharing His Beauty Linkup with Joan at The Beauty in His Grip

About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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25 Responses to Emerald

  1. Lolita Valle says:

    Such a lovely story…. even in synopsis, I could see it running in my mind.

    And I so love the way you give it an analogy of our Lord Jesus Christ, the best example of all the colors.

    I am too, more of a wheat than an emerald, although sometimes, I think the reverse is true. I am a dreamer, a poet by heart, an architect who loves designs, lover of the art like ballet, music, paints…. etc. But I do labor and toil to put bread on the table.

    Sigh…… beautiful to the core, Pam. Thank you for sharing.

    • You bless me with your words, your poet’s heart and compassion… all signs of an emerald at heart, I’d say! Yes, we must often do such work as you say, and it is wonderful to be a provider of necessities as well as beauty in this world. I think you soar as an emerald,too – a good combination. 🙂 Thanks, Lolita.

  2. Emerald — finding beauty in the common and ordinary… creating art! I like that, Pam.

    Thank you, and thanks for rejoicing with us in for our new house too. 🙂 So exciting!

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Diane says:

    I left a comment yesterday. It must have went into cyber space. This post is truly amazing, Pam. (I wish I could remember what I wrote yesterday, but I can’t.)
    Absolutely, an emerald. You are an emerald, as is the one who gifted you.

  4. Oh, wish I’d seen it! 🙂 Thanks, Diane.

    Been thinking again today about Selina and why I think she was emerald most of all, despite her self proclaimed wheat. (And why I see emerald in you, too…) As far as the movie showed, she never actually created special beauty, like an artist.. But it was her VIEW of the world that was emerald.

    Where the staid, unhappy farmer saw only cabbages, SHE saw glorious color that filled her with light. When it looked like she’d never make it after her husband’s death, she saw in her heart, rows and rows of produce to feed others…and teaching her son to make the most of who he was created to be.. . And I’d bet she would be praying for her grown son all the time he was going in the wrong direction… speaking emerald into his heart through her prayers…:)

    She encouraged others to see the world as she did, to look for beauty… like a flower poking out of a cement crack… There was a scene after her father died when movers were removing everything from her mansion. She took one last look at a magnificent painting of her dad – part of what had to be sold since it was painted by a famous artist. She just committed it to her heart and let it go… because she saw wonder still ahead when most everyone else saw a pitiable, penniless waif. And because she believed those words he taught her were the true gold.

    You didn’t say what type you think you are, Diane… but I just wanted to encourage you to know the emerald in your heart too. It’s more than just being crafty or poetic. It’s seeing God’s poetry all around us. I could feel that in you in your story about the Giraffes in Africa, for example. I can see it in your heart for the hurting. And I see it in your words to encourage. Wheat is beautiful in a different way… because it provides, is reliable, sturdy, steadfast… But those who are ONLY wheat… they are like Anne Shirley said when Marilla answered that she never really imagined things different than they were. “Oh Marilla how much you miss!”

    So grateful that God gives us eyes to see emerald too! 🙂

    • lolitavalle says:

      And may I add here, once again….. I see clearly, the Marys and the Marthas.

      We do possess each in us…… it is just how we respond to the moment at hand, in a given situations, that would provoke or show which side rises out of us.

      Often times, in the past, I saw myself as an OCD, always seeking or putting order at things and places, which made me miserable and those around me, got the worst of me, then when I realized it, I dropped everything upon God and I seemed to be happier even when still doing the chores I have to do.

      Sometimes when the Emerald is getting the stage, I throw all the chore inclinations up the ceiling, let myself dream, enjoy, meditate, read blogs, enjoy.

      Isn’t it amazing that (just thought of it right now), it is the Emerald in us that makes us happy, joyous and carefree? Was that why Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen for herself the best place down on the floor to listen to His Words, rather than what Martha was grumbling about?

      Yes, Wheat is valuable, but I do believe that in God’s sight……. He prefers for Emerald to surface above the Wheat, at any given time.

      Rejoicing, in any circumstance, is an Emerald Spirit , isn’t it?

    • Diane says:

      Well, Pam, you, my wonderful sister and friend, are so lead of The Holy Spirit…I had a very bad day yesterday. Your comment to me was the first I came to this morning. I’m teary…

      I don’t always see the Emerald…thank you for your beautiful words to me…I receive them as from my Father Who wants me to see through His Eyes.

      Thank you! This truly is in incredible post.

      • You were on my mind a lot yesterday… Glad this “hit” the spot 🙂

        Even if you don’t feel it’s always the natural way you see it…I think “emerald” is something we can start looking to see more of, and asking the Lord to open our eyes to find more too… it reminds me of that post I wrote under living letters about my college friend (A Random Act of…) Her thoughtfulness that day made me determine to start looking for similar ways to encourage. In the same way, we can start looking for that wonder and beauty in ordinary. 🙂

  5. lolitavalle says:


    Rejoicing and loving every moment of it, when I was given the go (by my Mama-a seamstress) to saw on beads on a wedding gown. My heart plays a beautiful music inside of me which make the craft more enjoyable that tiresome. My other sisters never liked those things….. only I.


    I am a workaholic, depressed when I have nothing worthwhile to do. I worked my way through College by working in an office and studying at night. Until now, I enjoy putting bread on our breakfast table.


    Being resilient to the harshness of life, and finding beauty in the dew-drop on a leaf. Seeing greens and fuchsias and lavenders and yellows in tress and flowers, music in the chirping of birds flitting on branches, romance in the touch of the breeze, poem in the bubbling brook, love in friendship, encouragement in divine analogies….. so many more which could fill a book.


    Watching my Grandad and Uncles build homes, going to sites and finding little assistance by handing over tools, nails or light planks.

    When sin was alien to the Garden of Eden, we were meant to be Emeralds…… by just being there for God when He needed to talk to Adam, see his wonderment in every little things which God created beautifully, giving Praise to the Master, listening to His voice….. music and majesty.

  6. lolitavalle says:

    Pardon….. it should read “than tiresome.”

  7. first time visiting and I really admired your inspirational writings:)

  8. Floyd says:

    An emerald indeed… Followed Diane over from her site… Glad I made the short trip, it took me worlds away and into a place I forgot to look for in mine… Thanks for an awesome post and a forgotten truth…

    • Thank you, Floyd. I’m glad you enjoyed it… This movie’s themes have been staying in my mind. I’d never heard that quote before, and even though I have long been a classic movie fan, I’d never seen this one before either… Come again! 🙂

  9. Betty Draper says:

    Pam…your post brought tears because so often I wanted to be emerald’s instead of wheat, been envious of some who shine like emerald’s. Took some hard times to get this Martha who is wheat to be thankful for God’s gifting.

    Some profound thoughs your post brought to my heart: Each things takes time to be used for what it was designed to be. Wheat must be planted, sun, rain and more sun must be applied to make it grow, someone must harvest when it’s ripe, thrash to bring out golden grain. Emeralds’ require much toil to bring them out of the earth, they must be polished, cut to bring out their brillants. Hummmmm…one can feed the hungry, the other can pay for the wheat…each is needed. Hummmm, very thought provoking post…encouraging…you have touched hearts my sister, touched mine.

    One thing for sure all emerald’s and all wheat will some day drop their earlhly luster and we will shine like the Son…all else will pale as we stand in His full light.

    Beautiful…I will get this movie at the library, it’s been many years since I seen it.

  10. Thank you for all those beautiful analogies, Betty! Yes, this theme does seem to go on and on, doesn’t it? I felt teary writing it too, which seemed like the Holy Spirit moving in my own heart… so it is so wonderful to know it is touching you too. I just noticed there is an earlier version of this movie with Barbara Stanwyck, but it wasn’t as affecting (that one was made in the very early 1930’s and just not as sophisticated. Funny because I generally prefer original versions, but in this case, the Jane Wyman one is my favorite.) Your comment made me think of the word that says we are a royal diadem, and also of jewels in my crown. I love that God can whisper His emerald heart into ours… Thank you for sharing!

  11. lolitavalle says:

    I have a question. I keep coming back here to read from the other replies. The Emerald in me… finds colors in their words.

    Where does the Wheat spirit come from in us? Is it from the mind? And emerald for our heart?

    I do wonder…..

    • Lolita, In the movie, she explained it this way: “The world needs both “emeralds” and “wheat,” she explains. Emeralds being those people, like Roelf, who appreciate and create beauty with music and so forth. And wheat, those who work the land, providing the necessities of life.”

      I think these are basically like two different personality types… just like there are those who are natural leaders, others who are natural joy-givers, others who are servers… etc. etc. Some people are more endowed with gifts that lean towards being the workers of the “land” God gives them (wheat) and others may be more endowed with the artistic for that “land.”.(Emerald.) “Land” in this sense is anything God gives us to cultivate — i.e. our home life, our jobs, our ministry…

      I see it as also being a mind-set (or heart-set, to coin a word) Like the wheat may more naturally be scientific or just geared to thinking logically. No frills, just down to earth, no nonsense. Emerald may be more the dreamer, the artistic, the one who sees beauty, hopes eternal, always sees the rainbow — while the wheat may see only what is right in front of them, what they might call “realistic” and thereby miss a lot of loveliness because they aren’t really “looking for it.” Without wheat though, we might not be grounded enough. For balance, it seems like we probably need a bit of both, but each of us is leaning more towards one than the other. These are just my thoughts as I think about it… 🙂

      Have you ever seen Anne of Green Gables? In that story, I’d say Marilla is mostly wheat, and Anne is mostly emerald. But when they come together, they bless each other as they each find something lovely and needed in the other… Anne’s head is always in the clouds, and Marilla’s always on the ground. So they help each other. Anne softens Marilla, teaches her to cultivate imagination and beauty. Marilla stabilizes Anne, gives her more rootedness… Make sense?

  12. Yes, I was thinking last night… wheat =practical provider in life and way of thinking. emerald = spirit-nourisher… 🙂

  13. Gail Golden says:

    Oh, Pam…this writing gave me little chill bumps. I just loved it and was blessed by all you shared about the movie…about your mom and dad. Beautiful thoughts. Some days I’m wheat…some days I’m emerald.

    I’m glad to meet you. Visiting today from Sharing His Beauty. I’ll be back, and I hope you’ll come by Gail-Friends and sit a spell.

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