In a land not far away and in a time not long ago there lived a dragon named Billy who was very different from all the other dragons. For one thing, he was born with unusual markings.

Instead of having deep-as-the-night green scales that shined fiercely in the sunlight and brought the fear of others who saw them to a state of whimpering fright, Billy had soft green scales the color of a pleasant Spring day. One in which you’d take your sweetheart on a picnic and make promises that would last a lifetime. Birds would sing. Flowers would bloom. And you’d know that life was good.

Oh, one more thing. Billy was adorned with what one can only describe as polka dots.

Happy, cheerful, delightful, pastel polka dots. But not happy, cheerful, or delightful to his parents. No, their initial reaction was one that brought these mighty warriors from a long line of renowned warriors to their knees.

They knew that this long-awaited firstborn son would be ridiculed for his appearance. In a land where fierceness was considered a virtue and a dragon’s lifeblood, Billy’s an outcast. So, his brave, noble parents did what any good parents would do. Hid him from the prying eyes of others. Not an easy task in the dragon world. But one thing that could be said about Billy’s parents, they were more clever and more skillful than most.

So Billy lived a quiet, solitary life far from other dragons, never knowing he was different. He grew up loved for who he was and not judged for how he looked.

He grew tall and strong, kind and true, and beautiful in his own polka dotted way. It could not be said in all the land that not any two parents loved their child more than Billy’s parents loved him.

Of course they loved him because he was their own and only child. But there was also something unusual about Billy. More unusual than the markings on his body. He was different from the inside out. He was incredibly strong, but also fiercely protective of other animals. The ones that were smaller and weaker. Which was, of course, every other animal he met.

In the part of the forest where Billy and his parents lived, none of the creatures were afraid of them. In fact, Billy befriended and protected them all. It was like an oasis of peace that formed a border around Billy’s home.

His parents had never known the mighty strength it takes to live in peace. They had only known war and conquest their entire lives. Billy helped them to see another way. Not by what he said, but simply by how he lived his life. His nature was so good, his parents often wondered how he could be a real dragon. They never came to any conclusions. They simply knew that Billy was a true blessing.

So, their lives went along a happy and content road for many years. Billy grew up respected by all the animals in the forest. Revered as their protector. Loved as one of their own.

Deep in their dragon bones, Billy’s parents knew a truth. That when the Creator made this world long ago, this is how the animals lived. Together. In peace. Side by side.

When he wasn’t looking, Billy’s parents grew old. No longer the mighty warriors of their youth, they were wise and kind, becoming outcasts as well. And yet, they would have it no other way. They had an unusual contentment that gave their lives grace and meaning. They were happy.

As happens in the cycle of life, the time came when Billy’s parents had to say good-bye. Their last act as loving parents was to tell Billy the truth.

“Billy, you’re different from other dragons we’ve known. Maybe we’ve been wrong to hide you all these years. We wanted to keep you safe, but now we know the truth. You were meant for more. Show yourself to others. Let them see you. Allow them to learn from you.”

That day became the day that Billy began a different journey. One that changed the lives of all around him. One that changed the way dragons saw the world and lived in it. Billy, who happened to be stronger than every other dragon he met, used the strength of peace and love to change the world.

And the Creator smiled.

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. Shed may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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