The tale of two pots

This year in Ontario is hot and dry. In between feeding the kids cold watermelon and closing the blinds to keep out the sun, I spend a great deal of time filling and carrying both of my watering cans. I go from the rain barrell (if there’s still water) to the garden and back again with a can in each hand, slowly making sure that my plants survive the long, hot days.

As I was carrying those pots on Saturday evening, I remembered a lovely story about two pots. I have not been able to find an author to credit but it seems that it originated in India. I hope you enjoy it while you do whatever it is that you do to stay cool:

A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on one end of a pole that he carried across his shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it.

Every day the water bearer filled the two pots in a stream and carried the water to the village chief’s house. By the time he reached the house, the cracked pot was only half full, while the perfect pot brought a full load of water to the house. This went on for 2 years, with the bearer delivering one and a half pots of water a day. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and unhappy that it was able to accomplish only half of what the perfect pot did.

One day, as the water bearer was filling the cracked pot, the pot spoke to him: “I am sorry that I can’t deliver a full pot of water for you. I’m so ashamed of the crack in my side.” The water bearer looked at the pot, smiled and said: “As we make the journey to the house today, I want you to see the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the cracked pot noticed beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and the pot found its spirits lifting. But at the end of the trail, it still felt badly because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot 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 side? That’s because I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you have 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. By watering the flowers every day, you help to bring joy to so many people.”

The truth is, we are all cracked pots. But even our flaws and shortcomings–if used in the right way–can be used to bring good into the world and bless others.

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