The Little Black Dot

Guest Blog by Lisa Cool

When I was first married…almost 34 years ago, my Sunday School teacher did an illustration for us that I have never forgotten. He took a blank piece of paper and then with his pen, placed a dot in the middle of the paper. We all went around the table describing what we saw. The common reply was, ” I see a black dot in the middle of a white paper.”

Turns out , there was a lot of value for me in this little exercise. The white paper represented people in our lives, and the dot represented the flaws we would experience…especially with our spouses when the honeymoon period was over. Just as our class focused on the dot, we tend to do that with our loved ones.

Those annoying dots…the habits/short comings would blind us to the beautiful white paper with all the good things we love about that person. Many times when I am frustrated with my kids, or Tim, I realize I am focusing on a little dot and overlooking the white paper. I have used this illustration many times with friends when they are “venting” about their jobs, boss, spouse, kids, etc. It’s amazing what happens to our moods and perceptions when we minimize those glaring dots and look at the entire piece of paper. I also use this exercise with life. How often when we feel let down or have challenges do we focus on that circumstance and overlook the big picture.

I remember a time when Tim and I were devastated by a life situation and the stress was taking its toll. While sitting on our front porch, we started focusing on all the good in our lives. Somehow, that screaming dot softened with the reality of a faithful and good God who had seen us through hard roads before.  The serenity prayer comes to mind as some of those dots can be very difficult to live with; “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Often times, we may not be able to minimize or erase those dots, but we can change our perspective and attitude and most importantly, pray.  Maybe those dots are there to teach us life lessons such as patience, self control, trust or unconditional love.

While you deal with all the dots in your life, I hope you don’t lose sight of the overall page.


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