“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
It happened on May 15 and Horton the Elephant was swimming. He heard a small noise…He looked this way and that but couldn’t see anything. It was then he heard a noise coming from a small speck of dust floating through the air.
“I’ll help you,” Horton cries out.
And a voice responds, “this is the mayor of Whoville and we need help!”
Imagine that, a whole city on a speck of dust! Suspended in the space, fragile, and in danger. Too small for anyone to notice except a good-hearted elephant enjoying a bath.
Once upon a time, Moses was walking to work, when he saw a bush burning, and a voice called to him, “Moses, Moses.” It was the voice of God, telling Moses that his people, the Hebrews, were being hurt in Egypt. He was so amazed that he took off his shoes as a sign that he was in a special holy place.
At first Moses had trouble believing what was happening, and so did Horton. No one in his community believed that a whole city could be on speck of dust. They made fun of Horton, and stole that speck of dust, sitting on a dandelion, from him. And no one could believe a voice could emerge from a burning bush!
Horton looked everywhere for that little world, perched on a dandelion, and when he found it, he begged the mayor of that little speck, “You have to prove you exist, or they’ll put you in some Beezle-Nut Stew.”
So, everyone of these tiny creatures – everyone in Whoville -shouted “we are here, we are here, we are here” but still Horton’s friends couldn’t hear them and wanted to destroy what they thought was Horton’s make-believe village.
With hope almost gone, the mayor of Whoville found a boy who had not shouted and told him to shout with the others in his loudest voice – and so he did “Yopp.” And the sound rang out, and Horton’s friends believed, and joined the cause – to protect the Who’s, for a “person’s a person, no matter how small.”
According to legend, when they heard about the story of Moses and the burning bush, a group of rabbis – Jewish spiritual teachers – asked the question – “why was bush burning, and not consumed? Why did it keep burning?” They gave many answers, all good but none of them right, and then one of them asserted, “It was burning but never burned up so that one day as he walked by, Moses would notice it!”
There are wonders all around us, but often we simply don’t notice. You’ve got to stop, look and listen. Open your eyes, ears, nose, fingers, and taste buds and pay attention to what you notice.
Now, Jesus loved small things – flowers, the birds of the air, and little children. One day, the adults got upset because the children were playing while Jesus was talking, and Jesus told them, “Don’t tell them to be quiet. Bring them to me, and I will play with them, and bless them. And so, he put them on his lap and prayed for them.
Jesus knew “a person’s a person no matter how small.”
Now, we live on a little speck. It’s big to us, but did you know that there may be 100 billion galaxies in the universe, each with billions of planets like earth, and here we are whirling in space, zooming around the sun, faster than airplane.
That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Now, I didn’t read Horton Hears a Who when I was a child. I read it when I was a teenager and I was playing with my friend Paula Hjalmarrson’s younger brother Per. It must have been nearly 50 years ago. This story has stayed with me all that time. It’s now part of my spiritual DNA, my way of looking at the world.
I believe that everywhere, you’ll find Whoville. Some place special and alive that other people don’t notice. Everywhere there’s something or someone beautiful waiting to be noticed and waiting for you to help them out.
Moses found himself on Holy Ground, a special place, where God communicated to him. And, I believe everyplace is holy ground and every person is holy, no matter how small.
So, listen…do you hear it? Could some small creature be calling to you? Could God be whispering in your ear? Could the planet be speaking, “Help me, take care of me, love me.”
And, could you be that little Who-child? Your small voice could change the world. Your little life could make the world beautiful and help someone.
After all, “a person’s a person no matter how small.”