The cracked pot
I recently stumbled across this parable, it’s of Indian or possibly Chinese origin and it’s beautiful.
A water bearer in India had two pots. Each day he travelled to collect water from the river, filling the pots and carrying them home on his shoulders suspended from a pole.
The first pot was immaculate, perfectly formed in every way. It safely transported a full pot of water home every day. The second pot however, whilst being similar in shape and size, was cracked and so by the time the water bearer arrived home, it was only half full.
The water bearer made this journey every day for years, returning home with one and a half pots of water. One morning as the pot bearer reached the river, the cracked pot spoke up, exasperated by it’s own inadequacy. “Every day you bring me to this river and fill me with water and every day I let you down. I only ever give you half the water that the other pot gives you. I am ashamed and I would not begrudge you getting rid of me and buying a new pot.”
The water bearer looked to his pot, confused (at first, I imagine, because his potted started talking to him). “I know you have a crack, as we make our way home, look up and see the flowers.”
As they journeyed home, the pot noticed the flowers and took a little solace from the beauty of the world around it, but it didn’t change the fact it was cracked.
As they approached home, the pot bearer knelt to gather some flowers. “Have you noticed how the flowers only grow on your side of the path? The land is far too dry to grow anything, but you have been watering this side of the path for years. I planted some seeds and if it wasn’t for you, there beautiful flowers would never have grown.”
We are all blessed with our own flaws. We can spend so long focussing on what we see as our own inadequacies that we fail to notice the impact we are having on the world around us.
Often it’s precisely these things we’ve labelled as flaws that the people around us value the most.