While watching TV the other morning as we were getting ready to start the day, a couple phrases on two different shows really jumped out and started me to thinking.

On an episode of Leave it to Beaver, Wally had been invited to join a popular club. After attending an orientation meeting he chose not to join, telling his parents that “all they wanted to do was sit around and bash people and things.” Wally felt the club members’ only purpose for being together was to find fault with anyone and anything that came to mind.

The next show was one of the old Andy Griffith shows. As they were sitting in their patrol car an older lady walked by, and Andy said, “Have you ever known her to complain about anything?” Barney said he couldn’t think of a time, even though, in his opinion, she had plenty to complain about.

We all know people who are like the woman, never complaining no matter how difficult life might be. Sadly we also know people who complain about or find fault with everything life has to offer. They are never completely satisfied with anything or anyone.

None of us is perfect, and we probably all complain from time to time. But I would hope that when people think about me, they would think of me more as the woman who never complained than as the club members whose greatest pleasure was criticizing everything and everyone they could.

Thinking about this reminded me of a story I had read several years ago.

A water bearer in India had two large pots which hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one half pots of water in his master’s house.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it 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 pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you’ve 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.”

Thought for the week — We are all cracked pots.

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