John is an actor, academic, entrepreneur, financial pundit, and writer interested in the search for truth and meaning in the world.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a little peasant girl named Soonya who dreamed of becoming a famous ballerina. Her parents were very poor, but they somehow found means to send her to the provincial ballet academy. At the academy, she was an odd pupil. She, at age nine, was short and pudgy in stature, had two long unsightly ponytails, and any lacked grace. Each day Soonya would try and try but could not properly pirouette or vault through the air. Her classmates ridiculed her every action, saying, “You will never be a famous ballerina because your family is poor, you don’t look like a ballerina, and, of course, you do not possess the talent necessary to fulfill your dream. Just look at yourself and then look at us. It is obvious who shall succeed from this class.” The cruel treatment caused the little ballerina to cry every day as she walked home. However, her loving parents every day told her to practice hard and look to nature for inspiration.
“Soonya, look at the wonderful creatures God has made with so much beauty and grace. He is able to do much more for you who have been created in his image. Do you not believe you can be who God wants you to be?” Her mother encouraged.
“But mom, how can I be the best when I am fat and ugly, we are poor, and everyone laughs at us especially me?” She asked sadly.
“Hmm! How you look or where you are born doesn’t determine where your future lies. Soonya make up your mind to be the best, don’t just wish for things to happen, pray about them every day as we have taught you and I believe God will send you help. Your father and I always pray that your life turns out better and I know it will.”
Soonya hugged her mother. “Thank you mama.” From that day onward, she prayed every day and asked God to send her help with her ballet. She wanted to be the best, but she didn’t know how to go about it, it got tougher by the day, but she was not going to give up. She would be a great ballerina by the grace of God.
One day as Soonya walked home, she noticed a swallow gracefully flying overhead, performing various turns, loops, and drives. Suddenly, the swallow stopped his aerial display and perched on a branch right above her. Then the bird began chirping as he flapped his wings and bobbed his head from side to side. The chirping brought pleasure to Soonya’s soul; the heaviness of the day’s trials disappeared in an instance. Soonya sat by the side of the road listening with great joy. She wished she could be as adorable as the bird but she refused to give into despair; she enjoyed the performance thoroughly. As the sun began to set, she realized that nightfall was approaching fast and hurried home. From that time forward, the swallow met her at the same place every day.
Then, on one magical day, after the swallow had serenaded her with a beautiful aerial display and song, he suddenly fell to the earth. “Oh my God!!!” Soonya said as she immediately ran to discover the bird’s condition. Upon hearing his cries, she gently picked up the bird and decided to nurse him back to health.
She did not want her parents to know, but she snuck part of her food to feed the bird. She hoped the bird would recover fast so she could watch it dance again. It took a week for the swallow to fully recover. When Soonya determined that he was healthy enough to release back into the wild, she put the bird on the windowsill in her bedroom. But he refused to leave. The little girl was puzzled by the bird’s behavior. She took him outside. With him in the middle her palm, she thrust her hand upward and suddenly downward. The swallow did not budge. In disbelief, Soonya said, “Why don’t you fly away to be with your family?” To her astonishment, he replied, “I will teach you to how to become the world’s greatest ballerina because of your kindness rendered to me when all others would have forsaken me.” That day swallow revealed he was an Angel sent in answer to her prayers and he gave her a special pair of ballet slippers, which were to be wore during class and special performances. Soonya had prayed every day for help to come; she had no idea that God had sent the angel in the form of a swallow first to comfort her and then to train her to be a great ballerina.
Each day for three years, the swallow toke her to a friend in the forest to learn something new. The peacock taught her to prance and elegantly emerge onto a stage. The eagle taught her how to leap majestically into flight. The swallow himself taught her the value of disciplined motion accentuated with graceful twirls. Indeed nature teaches things; God’s wonderful creatures taught her to dance with grace and elegance.
As their friendship grew, Soonya’s distasteful traits disappeared and a beautiful young woman began to emerge. Her classmates were amazed by the transformation. She became perfection in motion. She was able to leap, soar, and twirl effortlessly. There was no one in the land that could dance as gracefully as she. Her renown quickly spread throughout Asia. On her eighteenth birthday, the emperor invited the once-graceless ballerina to study and teach at the royal ballet academy. Soonya soon became a best ballerina in the land, she had brought fame and riches to her poor parents, and she was always thankful for God answering their prayers. She remembered the Swallow who has been long gone even though she still heard his voice instructing her sometimes. What she learned from the forest animals and the Swallow became the basis of dance instruction throughout the land.
The moral of this story is that it’s not where you start that counts; it’s where you end that is of far greater importance. So be kind to all, you never know who God will send to help you.
© 2021 John Remington Pierce