Friday, June 17, 2016

The Cracked Pot

I was out in my garden this morning, enjoying the coolness in the air before the day heats up and the colors and shadows fade. I took a picture of my favorite cracked pot. Here is an Indian parable to accompany it:

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots. He hung each on the on ends of a pole he carried across the back of his neck. One had a crack in it, while the other was perfect—always delivering a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. But the cracked pot arrived half full, the rest of the water having leaked out on the way. 

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was only able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do. 

One day, after two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out on the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot.  “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the side of the path.” 

As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took special notice of the sun warmed wildflowers along the path and felt cheered. But at the end of the trail, the pot once again felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path and not on the other pot’s side?” 

The cracked pot pondered this.

“That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have picked these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.

Moral: We can all be useful, despite our perceived defects. Find your defect and make it a strength.

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