(I was waiting to post this next one until I found a picture of Brian and I, but alas, I give up. I know I have it somewhere and if I find it I will add it later…)
I watched a movie several months ago with some friends. The main character is a young boy who is dying of cancer. It is a really sad, but somehow uplifting story. I was a mess pretty much the entire movie. The thing I was most upset about was watching his friend, who was a girl, loose her best friend.
I really haven’t allowed myself the privilege of going back to being 8 very often. There was so much I didn’t understand or know how to process. And now I only remember snap shots.
But during moments like that movie, I am forced to remember.
Brian was a special little boy. I feel honored to have known him. His life and death had a huge impact on my life.
He taught me how to be aware of people. What it means to stick up for someone. How bad it hurts when someone makes fun of you or someone you love. And how to let it roll off your back. I started to loose a bit of the fear I had of people. I cared less of what they thought. I remember feeling very strongly about that even then.
There is a book by Max Lucado entitled, You are Special. It is a children’s book and is one of my favorites. I cry every time I read it to my kids. I cry for many reasons. Brian is one of them.
The book is about Punchinello, a little Wemmick who had only dots. The Wemmicks were wooden people who spent all of their time and energy giving other Wemmicks stickers. They were consumed with watching others to see what kind of sticker they deserved.
Would it be a star? Or a dot?
Punchinello wasn’t like the other Wemmicks. He couldn’t jump high, instead he would fall. And when he fell his paint would chip. Each time, the other Wemmicks would run up and give him more dots. Some would give him dots simply because he had only dots!
Having only dots made him sad. It made him feel like a bad Wemmick. But one day he met someone who didn’t have any marks. It’s not that the others didn’t try to give her stars or dots, it’s just that they wouldn’t stick!
“That’s the way I want to be,” thought Punchinello. So he asked her how she did it.
She took him to the wood carver’s shop. There he met Eli. At first he was scared and started to leave. But as he turned to leave, the sound of someone calling his name stopped him in his tracks.
“You know my name?”
Of course he did. He was his maker and he had been expecting him.
Punchinello asked Eli why the stickers didn’t stick to his friend. “Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them. They only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers.” Was his answer.
Brian was my friend who showed me how to not let the stickers stick.
He had cystic fibrosis and would often have to run to the bathroom to cough up the mucus that was filling his lungs. No matter what the other children said, never once did I hear him respond. He chose to not let the stickers stick.
I came across a passage in Luke recently that struck me hard relating to this issue.