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CRACKPOTS

Pottery Struggling to balance the two large water pots that hung from each end of a sturdy pole, a water bearer in central India made his daily journey from his masters house to the well in the village. The hot sun beat down upon him relentlessly. Beneath his bare feet, sharp pebbles from an otherwise well worn path intermittently pierced his calloused feet. Enormous was the weight of the water that had to be carried from the village to the master’s house. To make matters worse, one of the pots had a small crack in its side, which unfortunately contributed to the loss of about half of its water during the journey. The other pot was in near perfect condition and always delivered a full portion of its contents. For several months this situation persisted. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it had been made. It boasted how faithful it was to fulling its mission to the letter. It did not fail. Additionally, it was rather new and its shiny coating gleamed in the bright sunlight. 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 all these months 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 for my failure.”

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

“I have been able, for these last several months, 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 of its load, and so, repeated its apology to the water bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other side where the perfect pot traveled? 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 walked back from the stream, you’ve been watering them. All this time, 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 these lustrous flowers to grace his house. Your flaw has made his house beautiful.”

Return to Inspiration Contributed by Ron Gordon