Thursday, May 21, 2015

Something extra

Some time ago, in a far-off place, there was a girl who seemed to have it all.

She was bright, charming, articulate, and so charismatic that she made friends effortlessly wherever she went. She had a strong sense of right and wrong, and a desire not just to do right, but to lead others toward the light with her persuasive abilities. She was honest and forthright, had a loving heart, a sparkling sense of humor and a ready laugh. And she sang with a pure, clear voice; when she was full of joy, nothing could stop her singing.

In fact, when the time came for her to leave that place and be tested, her Father had an idea.

"I think," he said, "that your particular test will be to receive something extra."

And so, as part of her test, the girl did receive something extra. Specifically, what she received was an extra chromosome.

This something extra affected the girl in many ways. It gave her eyes a distinctive almond shape, her face and body a perpetual shortness and a gentle roundness from low muscle tone. It gave her loving heart an unusual frame and an arrhythmic beat. It gave her hair that fell out easily and skin that was extra-sensitive to pain and scratches. And it gave her mouth and tongue a configuration that slurred her speech and made it difficult for her to communicate.

As she grew, this girl, who had always made friends so effortlessly, had to endure being shunned by some of her peers. Her ability to persuade others was hampered by a mouth that would not work as everyone else's did. She learned slowly, walked clumsily, talked awkwardly -- but she understood perfectly well what people were saying when they called her cruel names. She often grew angry and frustrated, wrestling with her own differences. And her loving heart was crushed many times over when even the people who meant well assumed that she was incapable of learning anything.

But the something extra she'd been given didn't change everything about the girl. She had just as strong a sense of right and wrong, and just as strong a desire to persuade others to do right, by any means available to her. She was just as honest and forthright as she'd ever been, and her sense of humor grew even sharper and more puckish under testing. Her slow speech didn't stop her from laughing out loud, greeting new friends, or boldly sharing truth with others. Her loving heart practically glowed from her chest. And nothing -- not mockery, not slow speech or learning, not even the altered sound of her voice -- nothing on earth could stop her singing.

Not everyone who met this girl understood the nature of her test, nor of her particular gifts. But it didn't take much perceptiveness for them to see her kindness, her genuineness, her determination, her sense of humor and her love. There was indeed something extra about her, something that had very little to do with her genetic makeup, and people could feel a palpable difference in her presence even if they couldn't readily define it.

Because this girl knew, above all else, that she was her Father's daughter. And that meant that she was capable of amazing things -- not just as part of her testing process, but in the ways she would continue to learn and grow long after the test was over. She trusted her Father to create the perfect test for her -- one that would teach her greater empathy, tenacity, patience, tolerance, courage, and how to laugh at herself. The refining process would take time and it would be painful, but it would also burn away every tiny grain of dross remaining in her, until she glowed with the fire of absolute purity that marked her readiness to become like Him. And following in her Father's footsteps was really all that mattered. Her willingness to receive and to bear a little something extra as part of her test would make her strong enough to receive a weight of glory very few others would be able to bear.

In the end, just as her Father had intended, she would indeed have it all.

And nothing would stop her singing.

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