DRY LEAF AND MUD PIE

Dry Leaf and Mud Pie were very good friends. As they approached old age together, they decided to make a religious pilgrimage to Banaras, the Hindu holy city on the banks of the Ganges River. They believed that if they washed in that sacred river, all the sins of their lifetime would be erased. They understood the distance and the dangers of such a trip. They knew that heavy rains and strong winds were the two greatest hazards they would face.

So, they decided on a clever strategy. When the rains poured down, Dry Leaf would shield Mud Pie until the storm passed. When the heavy winds blew, Mud Pie would sit on Dry Leaf until the sandstorm was over. One bright, sunny morning, Dry Leaf and Mud Pie set out on the long, difficult pilgrimage to the holy city of Banaras. They traveled just a short distance when the sky grew dark and rain began to fall. Dry Leaf shielded Mud Pie until the rain stopped. Their strategy worked, and they laughed as they continued on their way.

As they got further down the road, the sky clouded again, but this time, the wind blew in with a terrible force. Mud Pie sat on Dry Leaf until the wind died down. Their strategy still worked, and as they traveled on, they started to sing. They had gotten almost to the holy city before the sky clouded over again.

Then something terrible happened. The rain poured down, and the wind blew — at the same time. Although the two friends tried their best to help each other, it was of no use. Dry Leaf blew away and was never seen again. And Mud Pie was washed away.

Source: Jim Sichko, Stories from the Journey
(Open Road Media, 2014) pages 99-100

CONSIDER THIS

There comes a time in life when no matter how much we are loved and helped by another, it’s not enough. Even the love and support of our best friends can’t help us. A time will come when a help from elsewhere, larger than the mere human, will be your only refuge.

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF HORSE RIDING

A circuit-riding pastor was galloping down a road to get to church on time. Suddenly his horse stumbled and pitched him to the ground. In the dirt with a broken leg, the pastor called out, “All you saints in heaven, help me get up on my horse!”

Then with superhuman effort, he leaped onto the horse’s back and fell off the other side. Once again, he called to heaven, “All right, just half of you this time.”

Source | David M. Varner, Sunday Funnies to Tickle the Soul
(Xulon Press, 2010) page 44

 

CONSIDER THIS

Would you consider the pastor a faithful person, well-seasoned in the art of prayer? After all, here’s a guy who in the middle of great adversity doesn’t fade, but with confidence calls out. And keeps calling out … with a sense of humour!

Imagine you found yourself in the same situation, what would you have done?

PEACE, QUIET AND FLOWERS

A mother with five small children decided that their summer vacation should begin with planting a garden. So she took her little brood to the nursery where, for the next two hours, they squabbled over who gets to push the cart, insisted on seeing every plant in the five-acre greenhouse, cried very hard when there were no pick petunias, and broke a large clay pot. Home at last, she complained to her very patient husband “All I want is peace and quiet and some beautiful flowers.”  “My dear” said her husband, “I believe they call that a funeral.”

Source | Unknown

CONSIDER THIS “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore” | Vincent Van Gogh

REMEMBERING THE GIFT OF WINGS

There was a bird who loved to fly. One day, while it was high up in the air it began to rain. Its feathers became so heavy that when it tried to land, it broke its wing. Time passed, and the bird became better. It wanted to fly, but no matter how hard it tried, something inside stopped it from leaving the ground.

Day after day it tried, and day after day fear held it down. Then one day, a strong wind came and lifted it high into the sky. It opened its wings and the bird remembered as if for the very first time, that it could fly.

Source | Based on a story told in the film “Shadows in the Sun”

CONSIDER THIS

When you think that something is impossible, stop, relax, unwind, step back and slow down a bit … stop long enough to remember.

 

THE SNAKE CHILD

Once upon a time, there lived a childless and devout Brahmin and his wife. Everyday, they prayed for a child and in time a baby was born – only it was a snake! Although everyone around was aghast, the couple brought up the snake child with love and care.

When the time for his marriage came around, the Brahmin was at his wit’s end. Who would marry a snake? At his wife’s insistence, he visited an old friend of his. When the Brahmin mentioned that he was looking for a wife for his son, without hesitation, his friend offered his daughter’s hand in marriage, saying that any son of the Brahmin was bound to be a good husband.

Accordingly, the Brahmin brought back a beautiful bride for his son and they were soon wed. The girl did not flinch when she found that her husband was a snake as she was determined to honour her father’s word.

That night, as she was about to sleep, she was startled to find a handsome young man materialise before her. “Do not scream,” he told her, pointing to the snake skin at his feet. “I am your husband.” Joyfully, they embraced, but at day break he slipped back into his snake skin.

One day, the girl had a wonderful idea. Her husband had just materialised out of his snake skin. Quickly, she threw it in the fire. Her husband caught her up in joy. “Thank you, my love,” he told her, explaining that he had been cursed to stay in a snakeskin until someone destroyed it without his asking.

And so the handsome young man and his beautiful bride lived happily ever after.

Source | lifepositive.com

TAKEAWAY

Very often life gives us unwelcome things – like an illness or a handicap, or a brother who bullies. If we accept it with joy, it can transform into a gift just like the snake transformed into a handsome young man.

LEARN HOW TO LOVE THE WEEDS

Once the Mullah tried gardening.
He planted all sorts of seeds in his garden
and waited for the beautiful flowers to spring up and bloom.
A few did come up.
But alas, the garden was mostly filled with unsightly weeds.
They grew more quickly than the flowers.
And they too budded. bloomed. and distributed wafts of seed.

In desperation the Mullah made his way to the palace
to consult with the palace gardener.
This man was known for his skill with plants.

“I have tried everything,” complained the Mullah.
“I pull them out.
l hoe them out.
I plant more flower seeds.
And what do l end up with?
Weeds! Weeds! Weeds!”

The gardener considered all this for a while.
Then he offered his wise advice:
“I think the best thing for you to do …
is learn to love the weeds.”

Source | Margaret Read MacDonald, Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk About
(August House, 2005) page 98

______________________________

One other version of the story

A gardener took inordinate pride in his lawn was plagued with large crop of dandelions.

He tried get rid of them. He tried everything. Still they returned. Still they plagued him.

Finally he wrote to the local council, thinking that they must have the answer. He listed all the measures he had taken and asked “What shall I do now?” On official letterhead, by return post, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

Source | unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” | Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes in life things don’t turn out exactly as planned. The job isn’t the dream position you’d thought it was. The paradise island turns out to be a bit of a nightmare. Your partner snores at night and leaves the top off the toothpaste. Your team loses in extra time.

You can try to resist, swimming against the tide to make things different. Or, sometimes you can relax and go with the flow. Not give up exactly, just give in to the inevitable. And it’s amazing what can happen. The thing you wanted to change might just end up changing you.

Many grownups hate dandelions. But look at children. Children love them. They like to blow the seeds and see where they land.

ON TEETH AND PEARLS

A group of American tourists were on safari in deepest Africa. In meeting some of the local tribesmen, the women on the tour were fascinated by the natives’ jewelry, especially the unusual kind of necklace worn only by the chieftain. “What’s that made of?” asked one of the women.

“Alligator teeth,” replied the chieftain.

“Oh,” said the woman breezily, “I suppose they have the same kind of value for you that pearls have for us.”

“Not quite,” scowled the chieftain. “Anyone can open an oyster!” 

Source | Unknown

______________________________

A second version of the story

A snobbish tourist was visiting a small Australian village when he noticed a local man wearing a highly ornate necklace that featured 10 alligator teeth. He approached the man and in a condescending manner said, “Goodness, what a fancy necklace! I guess you people must value alligator teeth the same way my people value pearls.”

The man replied, “Well, anyone can open up an oyster.”

Source | Unknown

______________________________

A third, longer version of the same story

A young man routinely wore a string of alligator teeth around his neck. Although many people wondered why he wore this string of alligator teeth, they were all reluctant to ask. Finally, one evening while attending a social gathering he was approached by a lady who was wearing a string of pearls around her neck. After introducing herself she said, “Young man if you don’t mind, will you tell me why you are wearing those alligator teeth around your neck?”

The young lad replied, “I don’t mind, but first, you are wearing a string of pearls around your neck.”

He went on to say, “Now to my understanding, pearls are made from oysters which are known to make their home in shallow waters. In order to manufacture pearls, one only has to step into the shallow waters and fish out the oysters. Regardless of the fishing method, there is no struggle —there is very little work involved. There is little or no sacrifice made to fish in shallow waters. in other words, it does not take very much effort to make what you are wearing — a string of pearls.”

The young lad went on to say: “On the other hand, just think of the effort involved in making this string of alligator teeth. I mean, there is hard work, sacrifice, extensive training, struggling — one has to wrestle with that alligator. But once all the wrestling is over and the string comes together, I can stand tall and wear my alligator teeth with pride and joy because of the labor and effort that went into making this string of alligator teeth.”

L. D. Ervin, Meditations and Reflections,
(Dorrance Publishing, 2008) pages 64-65

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • The great secret of life is how to survive struggle without succumbing to it, how to bear struggle without being defeated by it, how to come out of the struggle better than when we found ourselves in the midst of it. | Joan Chittister,  Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope  (Eerdmans, 2003) page 13