The afternoon sun shone brightly as young Maddie trudged down the road home from school with a glum look on her face. She still felt downhearted because of what had taken place in the schoolyard at morning break. Some boys from her class had made fun of a girl from another class. This girl’s father had been laid off quite a while back and her parents could hardly make ends meet with only her mother’s wages. The boys were making fun of her second-hand clothing and calling her parents losers.
Thinking about it made Maddie furious. Over and over, she recalled how she had responded. Without wasting one word on the girl’s cruel bullies, she walked up to the boy who was leading the others on and punched him fair and square in the face. The impact of the blow sent the boy flying to the ground, clutching at his bleeding nose.
“Serves him right, the little...”
Before Maddie could finish her sentence, a voice shook her from her thoughts. It was a warm and gentle woman’s voice that called softly to her from the mulberry tree standing beside her by the footpath:
“Maddie, come closer.”
Maddie looked up, but there was no one to be seen. Again the voice spoke.
“You do not have to be afraid. Come to me.”
Maddie did as she was asked, not so much out of curiosity but because the voice filled her with a deep sense of security.
As she did so, a woman appeared out of nowhere with a flash of bright light.
“Wow!” Maddie gasped, “You can do magic.”
The woman smiled the most radiant smile Maddie had ever seen.
“Yes, so I have been told,” she replied.
“Who are you?” Maddie asked, unabashedly.
“I am your namesake,” the woman replied, shining brightly.
“Oh, cool! Your name’s Maddie too.”
The six-year-old’s pureness brought a smile to the woman’s face.
“Well, my name is Madeleine, or Magdalene where I come from,” the woman spoke, smiling, “but you may call me Maddie if you like.”
Maddie pondered for a moment.
“Hmm, no, I think I like Madeleine better.”
“Very well, then, Maddie. May I ask what is troubling you on such a beautiful day?”
Madeleine frowned as she was flung back to her unpleasant memories.
“Something awful happened at school,” she began to explain and then continued to describe in great detail the events that had taken place in the schoolyard that morning.
“I see,” Madeleine said when Maddie had finished speaking. “Well, Maddie, I have experienced great injustice in my time and I know how hard it is to stand by and watch someone being treated unfairly. Although you resorted to violence, I think it was very courageous of you to defend that girl.”
Maddie nodded earnestly in agreement.
“However, I believe your discontent stems from something far deeper.”
Maddie arched her eyebrows. What did Madeleine mean?
“Feel deep inside, Maddie. What made you feel sorry for that girl?”
Maddie felt for a moment and the answer came quickly.
“I feel sorry for her because her family is poor and doesn’t have enough money to buy her new clothes.”
“Yes,” Madeleine nodded, “go on.”
“Well, it’s so unfair. Why should some people be rich while others are starving?”
“That is a very good question, dear Maddie,” Madeleine replied. “And the answer is straightforward: There is enough for all of us.”
John Mellencamp – Love And Happiness
“Huh?” she retorted in indignation. “That’s not what they tell us in school.”
“What do they tell you in school?”
“That we will never have enough, unless we work really really hard and do as we’re told,” Maddie sighed hopelessly.
“Maddie, listen closely to what I am about to tell you.”
Maddie looked into Madeleine’s dark brown eyes, and it was then that she felt her heart beginning to glow.
“Like every human being on Earth, you were born with the right to live in abundance. This is something you will experience when you start to enjoy the good things that happen to you and when you are grateful for everything you have been given.”
“Hmm,” Maddie nodded, “that makes sense.”
“Yes, I knew you would understand. For you are a very wise young lady.”
Maddie smiled on hearing the word ‘lady’.
“Then why isn’t everyone rich?”
Madeleine laughed heartily.
“I will answer your question with a riddle.”
Maddie smiled; she loved riddles.
“Imagine a large chocolate cake.”
Maddie’s eyes began to twinkle as she not only imagined the cake but also how she began to eat it.
“The cake has to be divided among a group of eight children.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” Maddie interrupted, “I learned how to divide in maths.”
“Well?” Madeleine asked.
“I would divide it into four pieces first and then divide each quarter in half. That gives us eight pieces, so everyone has an equal piece,” Maddie explained, feeling pleased with herself.
“Exactly, but here comes the difficult part. One of the children tells another child that they should have their piece of cake as well because that other child did not do their best in school. The other child believes this and gives their piece away. How do you feel about that?”
“That’s not fair at all,” Maddie replied quickly.
“I agree, Maddie, but this is a striking example of how some people become very rich while others become very poor.”
Maddie listened carefully, eager to learn.
“The people who take other people’s cake, so to speak, are afraid they will never have enough and therefore take more than they need. The people who let others take their cake from them feel they are not good enough and undeserving of anything good in their lives. Together they create an unfair world. However, this is where you come in, Maddie.”
Maddie pricked her ears up.
“You may think you have to fight to protect others, but a more powerful thing you can do is set an example. You know you are deserving of good things and you believe in sharing equally. Carry on believing this and act upon your beliefs. Very soon, you will notice people around you beginning to do the same.”
“I can do that,” Maddie replied enthusiastically.
“Yes, you certainly can, but before you do, I am going to ask you something.”
“I love answering questions,” Maddie said, smiling brightly.
“What would you like to say to that boy you struck this morning?”
Maddie hesitated before answering. This was a question she had not bargained for. Before she found words to express her feelings, she began to cry.
“I’m so sorry I hit you,” Maddie said, as if she were speaking to the boy in question. “Please forgive me.”
“You have been forgiven, dear Madeleine. Now, can you forgive yourself?”
“Yes, I forgive myself,” Maddie nodded.”
“This also is very courageous of you, Maddie. In fact, it is the most powerful thing you can do, for once you forgive yourself, you heal yourself. And by healing yourself, you will help to heal the world.”
Maddie smiled through her tears as Madeleine’s words rang true.
“Thank you, Madeleine.”
“You are very welcome, Maddie. You see, you are learning already.”
Maddie laughed. Then Madeleine did something very unexpected. She stepped closer to Maddie, leaned forward and kissed her ever so gently on her forehead.
“Go forth, my child and let your tears of forgiveness be to the world as the morning dew is to the rose.”
As Madeleine spoke, Maddie began to take on some of the bright light that surrounded Madeleine. She smiled and said softly yet decisively:
“I shall heal the world.”
Madeleine smiled radiantly by way of reply and then vanished into thin air. Maddie sighed contentedly and skipped the last fifty metres or so home, with a radiant smile on her face.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King
Michael Jackson – Heal The World
‘Wheat In Summer’ by Simon Templar on Freeimages.com
‘White Mulberry Tree’ by Kelly Boesch on Freeimages.com
‘Pink Rose’ by Susush on Freeimages.com
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