I believe in the power of puppets. I believe that behind their glass eyes lies the burning soul of a wooden man that is determined to turn to ash before the flesh and blood of a man that controls his being. His strings quiver with the shame and humiliation brought on by his creator. When he is not put out under a heavy light, he sits on a high shelf collecting dust.
Though their life is long and cruel, I yearn for their gift of courage. They stand, suspended by strings, with a painted smile and put on quite a show. Because they know it’s life or death, and they dare not refuse. If only I had the courage to dance on that stage without falling apart. I could guarantee that I would be stronger if I could.
I wish for their blessing of quick thinking. On stage, they make the right movements and gestures at exactly the right time. You may say that the creator does all of that, but it’s the puppet that brings the moves to life. If only I had the brain to process my actions. I could guarantee that I would be wiser and full of grace.
I dream of having their endowment of control. Everyday the puppets are tortured and humiliated, but they never once act out. They have the power and certainly the time, but they can control themselves enough to say that the problems aren’t worth their while. They are bold by not sinking down to that level of pain and destruction. If only I had the direction of my anger under control. I could guarantee I would be a lot more dignified and confident.
Some people say that you have to experience the pain to experience the joy. Puppets are perfect examples of a life so bittersweet. I could not imagine what life would be like in their shoes. Every time I start to feel like I am falling apart, I look up at a forgotten puppet. I instantly feel better because I know that after all that’s happened to them, they can find something to smile about.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.