Drop Your Dots and Stars
Once upon a time there lived a woodsman in a village beyond the hills yonder. People called him Alex. His little pieces of creation were called Wemmicks, only they resembled people like you and me. Some were tall; some short, then there were others who had massive feet, and a few who had long noses. Some dressed up in grandeur with accessories one too many, whilst some chose to stick to simple coats. In other words, Wemmicks of all sizes and shapes constituted the village.
All that Alex did day after day was create more Wemmicks, thus mastering his craft. He worked ceaselessly, tirelessly, silently.
No one really saw him around, few caught sight of him at the baker’s or the barber’s shop. Alex just chose to be immersed in his world of wooden creations.
The Wemmicks were unique not only because they were made and felt like wood, but also for the fact that they had a rather unusual way of expressing their opinions of one another.
Stars were meant for any Wemmick who looked great or beautiful or even talented. Dots were for the ones who received unflattering remarks, basically the ones no one really wanted to befriend or be proud of.
Stars were based on talent, appearance and popularity. A Wemmick received a star from a fellow Wemmick if he could show off his speed at which he did things. Some could jump high over heaps of furniture, while there were others who could sing sweet songs. There were a few who were handsome, and so everyone wanted to be their friend. One star on a Wemmick would lead to another. So, some had hundreds of stars on them, and that made them do more and more great things to earn even more stars.
You didn’t have to do much to get a dot. If a Wemmick was plain looking or dull, it would attract a dot. Or if a Wemmick was slow at his work or couldn’t really jump very high in the air. Here again, one dot would lead to another, and so, some Wemmicks didn’t really feel good about having to be seen with so many dots as part of their attire.
The dotted Wemmicks were objects of ridicule and all they were adorned with were dots, reminders of their lack of self-worth and what the rest of the Wemmicks thought of them.
The typical star-studded Wemmick was obviously one who could throw back his head, walk with a swagger, and have those airs as if half the village was his. The stars seemed to give him the feeling of confidence and the keenness to do better.
In this Wemmick-filled hamlet, there was a certain dotted character by the name Punilito. He was an unhappy soul as he wasn’t smart like the rest of the Wemmicks, all people had to offer him were dots after dots.
Punilito felt miserable everyday, uncared for, and basically considered himself a loser. He tried his best to do things like the others, but failed badly. He would end up falling flat on his face and get chipped off even more, making it easier for his neighbours to dot him further.
The constant negative remarks from his village folk convinced Punilito that he was quite a picture of shame indeed. He began to live in seclusion and would seldom step out of his house. He hated the idea of people seeing him to tell him for the millionth time that he was a thorough waste of space, and that he’d best leave their community.
It seemed that the opinions of the entire village were working as Punilito began to sink into depression.
Punilito wondered for days as to what he could possibly do to change his situation. Who would want to be in his shoes anyway, would you? He had no friends. He was always shunned by people, unless they had to come up to him to give him yet another dot. As his sorry state of affairs got worse, he suddenly came upon a rare sight. A Wemmick who had absolutely no star or dot! “Am I dreaming?” thought Punilito to himself.
Punilito approached this new person rather hesitantly, with his confidence shattered to smithereens. Layla was the pleasant spectacle who had neither marks of honour nor criticism on her. Punilito couldn’t contain his curiosity anymore, and said aloud what was on his mind, “If only I could be like you! How do you manage to be free from the approval or disapproval of this place? Would you please share your secret with me? I promise to be mum about it?” “Well, well, dear friend, I go to Alex everyday!” replied Layla. “Oh what do you mean? Please help me understand this better.”
Layla explained, “All I do is watch Alex at work everyday! Nothing more, nothing less really!” “What’s your visit got to do with your unique status?” begged Punilito. “Go on and find that out for yourself, you poor thing”, said Layla with a sigh.
So off Punilito went in search of the woodworker Alex with little faith that any real solution could be guaranteed. Alex was seen in the company of loads of wood, his tools, and his new creations. “Welcome, my dear Punilito! Where have you been all this time? I’ve been thinking of you often.”
“What? So do you know my name? I’ve never met you before, have I?” Punilito was visibly shocked beyond words. “Of course I know you, silly boy, because it is I who created you. You are my creation. You are one of my masterpieces. It’s not as if I don’t see you filled with dots, I most certainly do, but that’s got nothing with how I value you.”
Punilito began to choke and in a slight sniffle muttered, “You know, Alex, I’ve done my best to be someone. Really. It just hasn’t worked so far, and I’m getting tired of who I am and how others perceive me.” “Stop apologising for who you are, my son, as what the world thinks of you makes little difference to me. Some things can never change; you’ll always be perfect, perfectly special to me. Could you keep that in mind always, please?” Alex sounded as if he meant it sincerely.
“But Alex, how is it that lovely Layla has no such thing as stars and dots? Is she more special to you than the rest of us?” Punilito had many unanswered questions, it seemed. “No, my precious. Layla cares not what others think of her, she ignores compliments the same way as she does rude comments. Her only focus is on what I think of her. I think she’s perfect. Stars and dots simply refuse to stick on her as she’s above it all.”
Punilito wasn’t sure he understood it fully. “Alex, but why won’t the stars and dots stick to her?” Alex in his kind voice reassured, “Don’t worry about understanding this strange phenomenon. Go home for now, but remember to come over everyday because I need to tell you how much I care about you.”
It felt like heaven to Punilito’s ears. He felt the sincerity in Alex’s words. Alex picked him up from the wooden bench on which he sat and placed him back on the ground with the parting words for the day: “Again, Punilito, you’re special. I have created you, and I make no mistakes.” Just as Punilito walked away feeling less of the torture he normally felt, he saw a dot fall on the ground.
Alex is none other than our Divine Master, our beloved God. Bhagavan has created each and every one of us, chiselled us to perfection, He has chosen unique roles for all of us on this planet, and He tells us everyday that we are special. Swami always reminds us that we must avoid seeing the bad in others, and concentrate on only the good. Good vibrations, good feelings and good words create a positive, happy effect on us. If we have the tendency to judge, we must tell ourselves, “Swami, I leave it to you to judge this person or situation. It is your job, not mine. “
As Mother Teresa famously said, “If we are busy judging others, we will have no time to love them.” Therefore, lets love all unconditionally, just as the Lord does, and at the same time, Love ourselves too. Because, no matter what the world thinks of us, to the One who matters the most in our lives, we are special!
~ Adapted from the original version of Max Lucado
Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler Elliot
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