Recently, as part of my spiritual journey, I was introduced to the book You are Special, by Max Lucado. For those not familiar with the book, it is about a group of small wooden people, Wemmicks, who are all made by the same woodworker named Eli.
In Wemmicksville, the Wemmicks place stars and dots on each other according to their abilities – stars for those who’ve done amazing things and dots for those who’ve done things wrong. One little character, Punchinello, is someone who has lots of dots. Although he continues to try to do things well, nothing works for him. He feels so bad that he stays away from everyone, even those who also have dots. One day he meets another wooden person, Lucia, who has neither stars nor dots on her. She explains that they don’t stick to her.
“I don’t want anyone’s marks” she says. Lucia convinces Punchinello to visit Eli, the woodworker, as she does every day. The visit to Eli was just what Punchinello needed. He learned that the stickers don’t stick on Lucia because she had decided that what she thought was more important than what others thought. “The stickers only stick if you let them,” writes Lucado. I’ll save the ending of the story for you to discover on your own.
One of the reasons I share this story with you is that one of my closest and dearest friends died this past Sunday. When I was thinking of sharing this story, her wonderful life of 91 years came to mind. She was the Lucia in my story. Reggie was like a mother to me. We met in 1968 on my first teaching assignment. From the moment I met her, I knew we were in for a great adventure. She had a mind of her own and a heart as big as the ocean. Reggie had so much common sense and didn’t let others’ opinions “stick” on her. She spoke her mind, yet was kind to everyone. Her prayer life was deep and simple. She knew God loved her, and she tried to share that love with her family and all those she met. Anyone who came to know her left a better person. Although she had many obstacles in her life, she knew she could trust that God was her strength and that He loved her unconditionally.
Sometimes I think we are like Punchinello and fret about the dots. We forget that we were made in the image and likeness of God. If we continue to trust in Him, we will find that the dots don’t stick. Looking at the story, what role do you think you play? Sticking dots on people? Feeling overwhelmed by what you are presently experiencing? Or, are you Lucia who leads others to go to the Master woodworker? We need to remember that God created each one of us with a special purpose in mind. We need to let things go and believe that we are loved. I know that Reggie did. Rest in peace, my dear friend, and thank you for the blessing you were in my life.
Till next week,
Pictured above: Sr. Theresita with her good friend Reggie who passed away on Sunday.