Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Cracked Pot

I heard this story today and wanted to share it with you.

A water bearer in India had two large pots,
one hung on each end of a pole which he carried
across his neck. One of the pots had a crack
in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always
delivered a full portion of water at the end
of the long walk from the stream to the
master's house. The cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it
spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

Why?" asked the bearer.

"What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house.

Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.

But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side?

That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I 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 two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers
to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

It is funny. I didn't see that ending coming. I was relating to the water carrier- toiling along day after day and only getting half of what he should.

But we are the pot- imperfect, cracked, leaky. We try our best but end with less than we think we should have.

Look around. You may be influencing those around you in spite of your defect. Or quite possibly because of it.

None of us quite know the impact we have on the world.



bir said...

So true. Thanks Emily.


Anonymous said...

I needed this post. Thank you.

Ter said...

Thank you for sharing this, Emily. With your permission, I would like to share this with others.

Lechelle said...

Thank you Emily.

Emily said...

Ter- please share it. But this isn't my story- if you google 'cracked pot' it is all over. I don't know who to give original credit to.