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Cracks and flaws spice things up

Whenever I search online I stumble across gems that I would never have encountered through the more traditional ways of searching for information. Internet research has it ups and downs. Clicking on links as you delve into sites unearths all sorts of treasures. Some you wish you had never uncovered while others leave a lasting impact on you. Imagine the future historians and archeologists and the fun they will have sitting in from of a computer searching, sifting, digging, discovering worlds that will no doubt be very different to the ones they will be living in. The Internet is a mine of information that many will need to learn how to manage and use. In essence this is already the case today.

Today I discovered the story of the ‘Two Pots’. There are many versions of it. Some talk about an Indian man; another talks of a Chinese woman. It really doesn’t matter because the message is the same in all cases. It is one of those anonymous stories told to make us think.

Here is the story …

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

Cracks are not flaws. We are all perfect in our own way.At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself,” it said.

“Why?” the woman asked.

“Water leaks out the crack in my side all the way back to your house,” the pot said. “Because I’m not perfect, you can’t bring home two full pots of water. I’m a failure, just a cracked pot.”

The old woman smiled.

“You are a wonderful pot and you can prove it to yourself,” said the woman.

“As we return to the house today, look carefully alongside the path. When we get home, tell me what you saw.”

All the way home, the cracked pot paid attention to everything it saw. At home the woman asked, “What did you see?”

“Flowers,” said the cracked pot. “I saw lots of flowers.”

“Yes you did. Aren’t they beautiful?”

“Yes,” said the pot. “But, once again, half the water I was carrying leaked out. I’m sorry.”

“There is no need to be sorry,” said the woman. “Tell me, did you notice where the flowers were growing?”

“Well, yes,” said the pot a little puzzled. “They were only on my side of the path, but not on the other side. Why is that?”

“For all these years,” the woman said, “I have planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day as we walked back from the stream…”

“Ohhhhhhhh!” the pot interrupted, shaking with excitement. “I watered the seeds through the crack in my side, and the seeds sprouted and the flowers bloomed, and…”

“Yesssss,” said the woman, who was as excited as the pot. “Because you are the way you are, everyone in the village can decorate their homes with beautiful flowers.”

“Each of us is a cracked pot in one way or another.” she said. “But there is still no limit to the beauty we can create.”

The moral of the story is …

Each of us has our own unique flaw. Being perfect is a matter of perspective; you can still be perfect even if you have cracks. It is the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

Look for the good in everyone because it is there. Sometimes it is hiding and not obvious.

Also look at the good in yourself. You are perfect. You contribute something important by being yourself and being the best person you can be. Often we don’t stop and see the good things we do but we spend far too much time dwelling on what we have done wrong. The cracked pot didn’t even realise that its one major flaw was also something to be celebrated; it brought joy to many others.

To all of my crackpot family, friends, and colleagues I wish you a great day and remember to smell the flowers. I love you just the way you are. Thank you for being a part of my life.

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