An elderly Chinese woman completed a daily trek to the stream past her home and back to supply her family with fresh water. In order to do this, she fashioned a heavy pot on each end of a long pole, which she carried across her shoulders.
One of the pots was in perfect condition and always delivered a full portion of water. The other had a deep crack in it, causing water to leak out. At the end of the long walk, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
This situation occurred daily for two years, 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 cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it had perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the woman by the stream. “I am ashamed,” it said. “This crack in my side causes water to leak out. You work so hard and yet have little water once you return home.”
The old woman smiled and replied, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day, while we walked back home, you watered those seeds and helped them to grow. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table and give to neighbors. Without you being just the way you are, there would not have been this special beauty to grace our homes and lives.”
Sometimes, it’s the “cracks,” or what we perceive as imperfections, in this reality that create something unexpected and beautiful. These “cracks” allow something to change and ultimately make the whole much richer and more interesting. Every thing and every being has its own unique purpose and destiny to fulfill. This is one of the great beauties of the Tao.
And yet perfectly perfect in who we are.
Through the cracks, we see light.
I read this at my nephews funeral. He was the youngest of three boys and the only one with a chemical dependency. It was so appropriate.
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I have always loved this story. My mother would tell this story when worked in the garden together. I have since shared it with my own children and people I have worked with. I truly believe it is important to understand the value that each individual has to bring to the table. God created us each perfect in who we are, All equal in the value we bring to the world.