Once there was a town called Satisfactory. The people who lived there were not open to change. They wanted things in Satisfactory to remain exactly as they were. They all saw life through the same window. There was no up or down or side to side…just straight ahead.
There were no mirrors in Satisfactory…no need…because everyone was the same.
In order to live in Satisfactory, you had to wear blinders and ear muffs and walk around with your hand over your mouth.
It was a tidy town because you were taught early on how to sweep things under the rug and make excuses.
On Sundays the people of Satisfactory would go to church. They would sit proudly in the front pews because they were God’s favorites. It didn’t matter what they did at home…they knew that once they walked through the door of God’s house…they were forgiven.
One day a family named Unacceptable moved to Satisfactory. The town was outraged when the Unacceptables wouldn’t put on the blinders and the ear muffs. They were loud and wore odd clothing. They were…different.
The people of Satisfactory pretended to tolerate the Unacceptables…but an undercurrent of dislike and distrust spread throughout the town and grew a life of its own.
The Satisfactories refused to acknowledge that there was another way of seeing and hearing and speaking…they did not want different. They taught their children to distrust different too.
Because you see…different was Unacceptable. And the people of Satisfactory began to see different as a disease and feared that it might spread through their town…and change things.
The older Unacceptables had grown accustomed to folding their wings and blending in…but the younger ones struggled. They didn’t know how to fit in and acted out just so people would look at them instead of through them. They wanted so badly to be acknowledged that they did anything to be noticed…attention for the sake of attention…at any cost. It was a losing battle because the very thing that set them apart and gave them the color in their life was also what made them invisible and prevented them from ever being Satisfactory.
The young Satisfactories finally went too far, and cut a young Unacceptable from the herd. They never intended to let him be part of their crowd…they were not interested in trying to understand or accept him. They had been taught that different was Unacceptable. In a pack mentality, they slowly surrounded him and drained him of his joy and beauty and different spirit.
No one would admit that they saw his pain or heard his cries because they were wearing blinders and ear muffs…until it was too late.
and one desperate day he let go…and the color drained from him and he faded away…
The Satisfactories were caught off guard. They took off their blinders and saw guilt in each other’s eyes. To ease the pain that their indifference and intolerance caused, they tried to make themselves into victims to hide their shame.
They ran to church to ask God if he would forgive them. God answered wearily:
“You covered your eyes with blinders so you only saw what you wanted to see…you covered your ears so you only heard what you wanted to hear…and you covered your mouths until you spoke the words YOU wanted to say.
If I had wanted all of you to see life through the same window I would have given you the same eyes. If I wanted you all to hear the same music I would have given you the same ears…and if I wanted you all to speak the same words I would have given you the same mouths.
I made all of you different…but you are the same to me…and because of that I forgive you. One day I hope you can forgive each other.”
And now…Satisfactory has become what they feared most…Unacceptable.
For Phillip Parker-age 14
Though you never found your place here on earth…know that you have one here, forever, on my cyber pyramid. I hope that wherever you are…you are flying joyfully and making your own music.
May the heavens echo forever…
Phillip Parker was here…Phillip Parker mattered…
Day Three Hundred and Twenty Six…open your minds and your hearts will follow….