Nearly twenty years ago, when I was in college, I experienced a very hard loss. At 21 years old, it was the hardest thing (up until then) that I had ever gone through. I experienced true heartbreak. The person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with disappeared. I don’t mean he moved away or passed away. I mean he rejected me. He decided our almost five year long relationship meant nothing to him. It was over and he never spoke to me again. Ironically the last day we ever spoke was 9/11…the day the terrorists flew planes into the twin towers. I truly thought I was going to marry him. So you can imagine my sense of pain and loss.
A few months after this break-up, I become involved in a Christian organization in college called Chi Alpha. This group met for weekly bible studies, small groups, morning prayer, etc. I began attending alone. Unfortunately I had allowed my ex-boyfriend to become my whole world and I had no close friends other than my mom. So I went to Chi Alpha alone. I tried hard to get involved in Chi Alpha and put God first.
One weekend, I attended a wedding of two Chi Alpha members. It was a beautiful wedding which took place outdoors. It was a warm sunny day and of course I went alone. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be friendly, I just tended to be a quiet person until I really got to know someone and let’s face it, I was out of practice in the art of making friends. So, I sat there alone on that beautiful day and waited for the ceremony to begin.
The couple getting married were very friendly, genuine, sweet people. I remember as the ceremony began the minister said “Angela and Levi asked me to read a book to you as part of the ceremony.” It was a children’s book and I was immediately intrigued. I’d never been to a wedding where a children’s book was read before! The name of the book was “You Are Special” and it was written by Max Lucado.
The book describes a village of people who walk around giving each other stars and dots. If you got a star it meant you had done something good, people liked you, or you were simply attractive. If the villagers gave you dots, it meant you weren’t talented, liked, or attractive. I listened intently as the minister read to us, the wedding guests.
As he read, I felt like he really was describing life. It did seem as though people rush around trying to be the most talented, smartest, and most beautiful. And at that moment, in my days of rejection, I realized that I felt like the main character, Punchinello, who had lots of dots. The question was why I felt that way.
The answer was simple. I had based all of my value and purpose, on what one person thought of me. And because my ex-boyfriend had deemed me unlovable, I felt worthless. I could feel the tears start to burn my eyes and a huge lump come into my throat as I kept listening to the story. It turns out that there was a person in the village who had no stars or dots named Lucia. The stars and dots wouldn’t stick to her. Punchinello, the character with all the dots, asked Lucia why the stars and dots didn’t stick to her. She told him it was because they didn’t matter to her. I thought about that for a moment… what people thought about her didn’t matter. You see, Lucia had no stars or dots because she visited the wood shop where the wood maker, her creator, lived. She spent time with him and she learned a valuable truth. It didn’t matter what other people thought of her -good or bad-because she was special to her creator simply because she was his!
I sat there stunned as the minister finished reading. That book was for me. The simple truth was that I had allowed a person to make me feel unlovable. I valued his opinion of me the most. I wanted him to give me stars! I wanted to earn those stars. And because my ex-boyfriend deemed me worthy of only dots, I allowed that to make me feel worthless. All the while I had been missing that my Creator valued me simply because He made me! I was special because I was His! I didn’t need a person to determine my value whether bad or good, only God’s opinion mattered. And I didn’t have to “earn” God’s love. He loves me because I belong to him.
I have never forgotten that day or the book that was read at the wedding almost 20 years ago. In fact, I have a copy of the book on a bookshelf at home and now read it to my own children. I have to remind myself at times, that it doesn’t matter what people think. It doesn’t matter because God thinks I’m special because I’m his!!