Someone sent me this story. I thought it worth sharing.
One day, a professor entered the classroom and asked her students to prepare for an impromptu test.
She handed out the test papers, which comprised a single sheet, placing them face down on the students’ desks. Once she had distributed all the papers, she asked the students to turn them over. To everyone’s surprise there were no questions – just a black dot slightly offset from the centre of the sheet of paper.
“I want you to write about what you see,” the professor said.
The students, though surprised, started on the task. When they were done, the professor gathered the test papers, went to the front of the room, and began reading the answers aloud. All the students, without exception, had written about the black dot on the paper. They described its position; they wrote of its blackness, its size, its dark and foreboding meaning. They speculated on how it might symbolize death, fear or destruction.
After she had read all the papers, the professor offered this explanation:
“I’m not going to grade you on this,” she said. “I just wanted to give you something to think about. You all wrote about the black dot. None of you wrote about the white part of the paper.
“The same thing frequently happens in life,” she continued. “Imagine our lives are like these pieces of paper with black dots.
“We have much to celebrate – nature renewing itself every day, friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles that may be found everywhere if we are open to them.
“We have lots to enjoy and be thankful for, but we insist on focusing on the dark spots: the health issues that bother us, a lack of money, the complicated relationship with the family member, a disappointment with a friend — so many challenges, so much heartache and loss.
“Sometimes we let the little black dots multiply and join together until they threaten to completely obscure the potential of everything else.
“It doesn’t have to be that way. The dark spots are small compared to the vast white canvas of our lives; we needn’t allow them to take over our hearts and minds. We can imagine our lives differently.
“Don’t let black dots fill the pages of your life. Yes, mourn sadness and loss when appropriate – life is hard. But also see and celebrate joy and love – life is a gift. Savour your blessings, live each moment, be happy, be hopeful.
“Paint your own colourful pictures. Don’t let your life be all about the black dots.”