The Little Black Dot

One day, a teacher announced to her class there would be a surprise test.  She handed out a sheet of paper face down to each student. The teacher said, “When you turn the paper over, I want you to write about what you see.” When the students turned the paper over there was just a small black dot in the centre of the page. It was an odd test but the students started writing.

Once the papers were collected the teacher started reading the answers out loud to the whole class. All of the students had written about the black dot, trying to describe it, its size and position.

After reading out all the answers, the teacher said to the students:

“None of you will be graded on this test. I just wanted you to think over something. All of you wrote about the black dot. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. The same thing happens in our lives too. We all have a white paper to observe and learn from, yet we always focus on the dark spots. We have so many reasons to celebrate – our parents, co-workers, friends, good health, a satisfactory job, a child’s smile, the miracles we witness every day, and so on.

However, we simply limit our horizons by focusing on just the dark spots – our disappointments, our frustrations, our fears and anxieties, things that bother us, people that wronged us, etc. In our day-to-day lives, we tend to take so many good things for granted, and focus our energy on insignificant dot-like failures and disappointments.” (Source: R. Sharma)

The Psalmist says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1) As you read through Psalm 9 it is clear that there is much pain and suffering but the Psalmist wants to focus on the goodness of God. Life is more positive when we let our praise and thanksgiving to God govern our thoughts.