THE BLESSING OF THE CRACKED POT

Back in the days when pots and pans could talk – which indeed they still do –  there lived a man. In order to have water, every day he had to walk down the hill and fill two pots and walk them home. One day it was discovered one of the pots had a crack and as time went on, the crack widened. Finally, the pot turned to the man and said, “You know, every day you take me to the river, and by the time you get home, half of the water’s leaked out. Please replace me with a better pot.”

And the man said, “You don’t understand. As you spill, you water the wild flowers by the side of the path.”  Sure enough, on the side of the path where the cracked pot was carried, beautiful flowers grew, while other side was barren.

“I think I’ll keep you,’ said the man.”

Source: Kevin Kling, The Dog Says How,
(Borealis Books; 1 edition, 2007)
pages 166-167

CONSIDER THIS

“The spiritual life is about being open to every moment, however incomplete, because every moment in life has something to teach us about what it means to live well. It is about realizing that sometimes the perfection of the moment lies in accepting its imperfections.”

Joan ChittisterWelcome to the Wisdom of the World and Its Meaning for You (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007)

THE CLOCK THAT HAD A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

the-clock-that-had-a-nervous-breakdown

The new clock was ticking away on the shelf two ticks to the second as any good, self-respecting clock should tick when it began to think about how many times it was going to have to tick. “Two ticks to the second means 120 ticks per minute,” it mused. “That’s 7200 ticks per hour, 172,800 ticks per day, 1,209,600 per week for 52 weeks, and a total of 62,899,200 per year.” Horrors! Straightway the clock had a nervous breakdown.

The clock was taken to a psychiatrist who patched up the mainspring as well as he could then asked, “Clock, what’s your trouble?” “Oh, doctor,” wailed the clock, “I have to tick so much. I have to tick two ticks a second and 120 ticks per minute and 7200 ticks per hour, and.” “Hold it,” the psychiatrist cut in, “How many ticks do you have to tick at a time?” “Oh, I just have to tick one tick at a time,” was the reply. “Then let me make a suggestion,” replied the doctor. “You go home and try ticking one tick at a time. Don’t even think about the next tick until it’s time. Just tick one tick at a time. That you can do.”

Source: The original source is unknown to me

CONSIDER THIS

How often do we get bogged down thinking about all we have to do? Today, let me suggest this to you: Tick one tick at time, even if what you’re ticking is things off of your to-do list!

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  – Matthew 6:34 (NRSV)

Give your entire attention to what God (Life) is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God (Life) will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

CAN IT GET ANY WORSE?

can-it-get-any-worse

A poor man lived with his wife and six children in a very small one-room house. They were always getting in each other’s way and there was so little space they could hardly breathe!

Finally the man could stand it no more. He talked to his wife and asked her what to do. “Go see the rabbi,” she told him, and after arguing a while, he went.

And so the poor man told the rabbi how miserable things were at home with him, his wife, and the six children all eating and living and sleeping in one room. The poor man told the rabbi, “We’re even starting to yell and fight with each other. Life couldn’t be worse.”

The rabbi thought very deeply about the poor man’s problem. Then he said, “Do exactly as I tell you and things will get better. Do you promise?”

“I promise,” the poor man said.

The rabbi then asked the poor man a strange question. “Do you own any animals?”

“Yes,” he said. “I have one cow, one goat, and some chickens.”

“Good,” the rabbi said. “When you get home, take all the animals into your house to live with you.”

The poor man was astonished to hear this advice from the rabbi, but he had promised to do exactly what the rabbi said. So he went home and took all the farm animals into the tiny one-room house.

The next day the poor man ran back to see the rabbi. “What have you done to me, Rabbi?” he cried. “It’s awful. I did what you told me and the animals are all over the house! Rabbi, help me!”

The rabbi listened and said calmly, “Now go home and take the chickens back outside.”

The poor man did as the rabbi said, but hurried back again the next day. “The chickens are gone, but Rabbi, the goat!” he moaned. “The goat is smashing up all the furniture and eating everything in sight!”

The good rabbi said, “Go home and remove the goat and may God bless you.”

So the poor man went home and took the goat outside. But he ran back again to see the rabbi, crying and wailing. “What a nightmare you have brought to my house, Rabbi! With the cow it’s like living in a stable! Can human beings live with an animal like this?”

The rabbi said sweetly, “My friend, you are right. May God bless you. Go home now and take the cow out of your house.” And the poor man went quickly home and took the cow out of the house.

The next day he came running back to the rabbi again. “O Rabbi,” he said with a big smile on his face, “we have such a good life now. The animals are all out of the house. The house is so quiet and we’ve got room to spare! What a joy!”

Source: Aaron Zerah, How the Children Became Stars:
A Family Treasury of Stories, Prayers and Blessings
from Around the World
Sorin Books
, 2000

CONSIDER THIS

  • Perspective is everything.  It is not what we see, but the way we see it. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.
  • Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to – Abraham  Lincoln
  • Think about your biggest complaint and what the rabbi would tell you if he heard it. Today, follow the rabbi’s advice.
  • Imagine you are the man in the story. At the end, what would you say to a friend who complained about how bad life was?

PARABLE OF THE CRUMB AND THE LOAF

Once upon a time a loaf of bread fell from a bakery truck and as it hit the ground a crumb broke loose. Three sparrows all eyed the crumb and swooped down to grab it, but began fighting over it.

Eventually, one of the sparrows succeeded in scooping up the crumb in its beak and flew away with it with the other two sparrows following in hot pursuit. A frenzied aerial fracas took place until the crumb was completely consumed.

The only thing these sparrows saw was the crumb. None noticed the loaf still on the ground.

Source: Daily Encounter

CONSIDER THIS

Are you wasting your life-energy squabbling over trivialities, ignoring the true riches of life that surround you?

Are you majoring in minors, wasting time on non-essential issues while the cries of the hurting and the neglected go unheeded?

 

GET IN THE WHEELBARROW

There was once a circus performer who made a living by pushing a wheelbarrow across a high wire that spanned an abyss. The crowds came out in droves to watch him and to cheer him on. “Do you believe I can do it?” he would ask them. “Oh, yes! We believe you can do it,” they chorused back in acclamation.

“So, who’s going to get in the wheelbarrow?” he asked. And silence fell.

Source: Margaret Silf
The Other Side of Chaos
(Loyola Press, 2011) page 37

CONSIDER THIS

All believed in the amazing circus performer, but none of them trusted him enough to get in the wheelbarrow.

If you happen to be a Christian: In the Christian tradition, the creeds that we recite so faithfully every Sunday, set out fairly precisely what we are supposed to believe. We can recite those creeds as often as we want, but that will not necessarily amount to trust.

 

WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PREACH

Nasrudin, a wise yet sometimes foolish man, was invited by village elders to speak in their village mosque for three consecutive weeks. Nasrudin, who knew he had many wise ideas in his head, had foolishly neglected to prepare a sermon. That first morning, he stood at the door of the mosque, puffed out his chest and decided to wing it. He turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and the people looked down and said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” He then threw his robe across one shoulder and pronounced, “Well, then there is no need of me here” and marched right out the door.

The people were curious and the next week when Nasrudin was to speak even more gathered. Again, Nasrudin had not bothered to prepare his thoughts. He strode to the front and turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and this time the people stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin didn’t miss a beat. He threw his robe across his shoulder and said, “Well, then there is no need of me here.” and marched out the door.

On the morning of the third week, Nasrudin stood no more prepared than that first day. He confidently walked to the front and turned to the people and asked once more, “My beloved, who among you knows that of which I speak?” This time they had a plan! Half of the people said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” and the other half stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin stood for a moment and said, “Then if those of you who know would tell those who don’t, there is no need of me here.” With that, he threw his robe across his shoulder and left the building.

Source: Annette Simmons and Doug Lipman
The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling
(Basic Books; 2nd edition (April 4, 2006) pages 49-50

______________________________

Here’s a shorter version of the same story

Mulla Nasrudin preached on Fridays at the village mosque. One day, having nothing to preach about, he asked the congregation:

“Do you know the subject I am going to discuss today?”

“No” said the people.

“Then I refuse to preach to such an ignorant assembly. How could you not know given the events of the past week?” asked Nasrudin and left hurriedly.

Next Friday he went up the pulpit and asked: “Do you know the subject of my sermon today?”

People fearing a repetition of what had taken place a week before nodded and said: “Yes yes, indeed we know.”

“Well, then. There is no point in telling you what you already know”, said Nasrudin and left.

On the third Friday he ascended the pulpit and asked: “Do you know what I am going to speak about today?”

Not knowing what to say, some said yes and some said no.

“Then those who know can tell those who don’t”, said Nasrudin and left.

Source: wikibooks.org

CONSIDER THIS

This is a wise and foolish man – he looks foolish but he is very wise in his foolishness; he looks very wise but he is behaving like a fool.

Wisdom and foolishness are together in life; if you dissect them then wisdom will be separate and foolishness will be separate, but both will be dead. The greatest art of life is to let them grow together in such a balance that your wisdom carries a certain quality of foolishness, and your foolishness carries a certain quality of wisdom. Then you are total. Then you are whole.

 

IT’S THE STUFF INSIDE

A little girl walking down the street with her mother, stopped at a balloon vendor’s stand. He was selling helium-filled balloons.  The child was intrigued as she watched the balloon man occasionally let go of some strings releasing a few balloons  into the azure sky— blue balloons, red, green, white, black, and yellow balloons!

Marvelling that helium-filled black balloons floated as easily as red and green ones when  the vendor let go of their strings, the curious child said, “Excuse me sir, how come when you let go of the balloons—green balloons, white balloons, red balloons, even black balloons—they always float up into the sky?”

The man replied, “Love, it’s not the colour of the balloon that matters. It’s the stuff inside.”

Source: As told by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
no stranger to being discriminated against

CONSIDER THIS

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.