Once there was a chameleon. He lived in a desert town kept alive only by the prosperous coalmines. The sun rose high over the town each day and stayed high until nightfall. Everyone had their job and each job was important to keep the town alive.
The chameleon had lived in the town his entire life and had one great skill of which he was very proud: he could imitate any color and surface in town. Through his lifetime he had worked and without fail could blend into any backdrop the town could provide. He was brown in the dirt and green in the grass, he was red near the Coca-Cola machines and blue near the Pepsi ones. He could be the finest gray near the concrete steps of the library and purple as he rested next to the desert poppies.
Because of his great skill the town barely knew he existed but he was a vain chameleon and told himself “They are just pretending not to see me, they are just impressed.” For years he had played along and would not interact or make eye contact with the townspeople. He was a great celebrity, after all.
The consummate professional, the chameleon always tried to outdo himself for his raving fans. He had even trained himself to slightly glow at night when next to the cafe’s “Open” sign, just to show those who thought he couldn’t but were too scared to say it to his face.
One day, in his attempt to outdo himself, the chameleon decided to briefly change into all the colors he had collected throughout his life at the same time. Once he was safely away from his adoring crowds he gathered his energy and pushed his colors to the surface. The first time only 3 showed (blue, red and his normal green) but he wasn’t satisfied. After collecting his wits he tried again, this time pushing forth his colors with all his might.
He had done it! Every color he was capable of imitating showed. Purple on his tail. Red, blue, turquoise and yellow covered his legs. Scales of pink, brown, aqua, amaranth, beige, and burnt sienna covered his body and black, green, and white showed in his face. He was even glowing as he had taught himself to do.
He was beautiful. He couldn’t wait to surprise the townspeople one day when they weren’t expecting it. He was just going to hold on to this gift and display it at the right time.
But then the chameleon noticed something. Something odd. He couldn’t change back. No matter how hard he tried, he was stuck in his new colors. He was a failure. The townspeople were sure to laugh at this great celebrity who couldn’t even change back into normal colors.
Begrudgingly, the chameleon went back to the town; prepared for his ridicule.
“Wow, would you look at that,” a lady said as she passed the chameleon.
Two coalminers passed him and he heard then utter, “Have you ever seen anything like it before?”
It was scarier than he had imagine it would be: facing the crowds as many unique colors instead of imitating one. He almost turned and fled the town but then a young girl came up to him.
“Hi, I’m Sally. What’s your name?” she asked.
“My name? Why, I’m the Chameleon, don’t you know who I am?” he replied, quite baffled.
“This is the first time we’ve noticed you in these parts,” the girl said, “I just wanted to say I think you’re beautiful and welcome to our town.”
By then a crowd had gathered and everyone was saying how unique and beautiful the chameleon was in all his colors. The chameleon talked with the townspeople he had so long ignored (and who had apparently been ignoring his as well) and he had never felt more famous than he did at that moment.
Just then, a man came running through the town. Out of breath, he informed the townspeople that one of the mine shafts had collapsed and trapped a crew. There was no one that could get into the mine and lead the trapped workers to safety. Fathers, sons and brothers of the townspeople were in danger of never finding their way out again.
Just then a tiny voice emerged from the crowd. “I can help,” it said. The townspeople looked for the source of the strange voice only to find that it had been the chameleon.
“I’m small enough to get into the mines and since I’ve lived in this town my whole life, I know the ways out. I also glow so the trapped workers can follow me to safety.”
The chameleon was sent into the mines and was immediately seen by the trapped workers due to his glow and many colors. He led them all to safety as he had promised and there was much rejoicing.
The chameleon was a town hero and from that day forward there was never a day that the townspeople didn’t look him in the eye and tell others about the amazing, glowing chameleon with all the colors.
How many of the unique colors you’ve acquired during your life are you showing?
Are there people that could benefit from seeing you who can’t because you’re still imitating everyone around you?