The Festival of Stickers in Wemmickville is coming up and two trophies are up for grabs: the shining Star trophy for the Wemmick with the most number of star stickers, and the trophy with the big, gray dot for the one with the most number of, you know it, gray dots. Wemmicktown knows that laughingstock Punchinello will undoubtedly win the hideous trophy.
In Wemmickville, we can also find Lucia, a Wemmick who has no stars nor gray dots. Punchinello is amazed and asks about her. Rumor has it, Lucia goes to see Eli everyday. For most of Wemmickville, Eli is a scary, giant woodcarver. Punchinello didn't know that Lucia knew all about him and wanted him to get to know Eli.
One day, Lucia visits Punchinello at his house and shares with her the secret why stars and gray dots don't stick on her and she tells him about who Eli was. The following day, however, Punchinello forgets about it when he is challenged by the person who has the shiniest coat because of his many stars. The proud character - who, by the way, claims to be humble, tells Punchinello, "Just reach for the star and it's yours." He ties the star to the end of a stick like a bait to a fishing pole, stands at the balcony of the Wemmickville Townhall and beckons Punchinello to come.
Desperate to have that one star, Punchinello climbs up, one box after the other for all of Wemmickville to see. Box after box after box he climbs and just when he was about a pinky finger away from getting hold of the star, his foot slips, he falls, with the boxes toppling after him and pinning him to the ground. The rest of the Wemmicks, true to tradition and culture, sticks gray dots all over poor Punchinello instead of helping him stand up.
That evening, Punchinello throws away all the gray dots and stars he has gathered in two boxes and decides to go see Eli. Punchinello was scared and wanted to back out but just when he was about to turn, he hears a voice gently calling out his name, "Punchinello."
Next is the conversation that ensues:
ELI: Come and let me have a good look at you.
PUNCHINELLO: You know my name.
ELI: Of course I do, I made you. (seats Punchinello on a wooden block) Hmm.. looks like you've been given some bad marks.
PUNCHINELLO (frantic): I didn't mean to, Eli. I really tried hard.
ELI: You don't have to defend yourself to Me, child. I don't care what the other Wemmicks think.
PUNCHINELLO: You don't?
ELI: No, and you shouldn't either. Who are they to get stars or dots? They're Wemmicks, just like you. What they think doesn't matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think, you are pretty special.
PUNCHINELLO: Me, special, why? (bashful) I can't climb very high, I can't skip stones, my paint is peeling, why would I matter to you?
ELI: Because you're Mine. That's why you matter to Me.
PUNCHINELLO: I don't know what to say.
ELI: Everyday I've been hoping you'd come.
PUNCHINELLO: I came because I met someone who had no marks.
ELI: I know. She told me all about you.
PUNCHINELLO: Why don't stickers stay on her?
ELI: Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.
ELI: The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust My love, the less you care about the stickers.
PUNCHINELLO: I'm not sure I understand.
ELI: You will but it will take time - you've got lots of marks. For now, just come to see me everyday and let Me remind you how much I care.
PUNCHINELLO: Thanks, Eli. (prepares to leave)
ELI: Remember you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.
PUNCHINELLO (outside Eli's house): I think he really means it. (a gray dot falls off Punchinello's clothing.)
I can't help but liken the world today to Wemmickville. How many of us think of God as a scary, giant woodcarver whom we cannot personally talk to, whose house is beyond reach, up there on the hill? How many of us are so preoccupied with gathering the stars that our fellow Wemmicks will stick onto us, and be so downhearted when we get gray dots instead? Does what "the others" say matter to us?
When we see a badly fallen Punchinello in the tiny four corners of the world we call school, office, home or church, how quick are we to give out gray dots and condemn instead of lending out a hand to help him up?
How many of us -- especially those amongst us who "proudly" call themselves Christians -- are willing to be a Lucia and reach out and share our Creator's love with those who need it most? How many of us are willing to sacrifice our own comfort zones, to "risk" our reputation and not care about what "the others" might think just so we can genuinely (and without expecting anything in return) make someone feel valued and special?
Our Creator knows each and everyone of us by name. He knows our minds. He knows our hearts. He is not affected by other people's view of us; He knows everything about us and even the very hairs on our head are numbered. He always knows what is best for us.
I, too, have been guilty of either being too preoccupied about my stars that I failed to recognize other people have their own stars too. What's worse is, at one point or another, I, too, have been guilty of sticking gray dots on someone else.
The good news is, the mistakes we've done to ourselves and the mistakes done to us by others do not affect the Best Plan that God has carved for us. Yes, we are all Wemmicks to the eyes of the Master Woodcarver yet for each of us He has tailor-fitted a story entirely and uniquely our own. It is only when we learn to trust His love that we are set free from the 'pressure' of what the world thinks about us. It is only when what God thinks of us matters most to us that people's opinion of us won't hold water.
"The stickers only stick if you let them...And I don't make mistakes." Two important statements from the Woodcarver. I also take those as two loving reminders from my Creator and Loving Father. You can make them yours, too.