THE CRACKED POT
Last month I told the story of how Michaelangelo created his magnificent David from a block of marble which others considered flawed – just as so many of us, rather than on the beauty, focus on the flaws in ourselves and others. On the same theme, this month I thought you might like a reminder of the well known story of the cracked pot.
A water-bearer had two large pots. Each hung on the 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 at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house always delivered a full portion of water, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
T he perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, 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.
One day the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise 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 flaw, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts".
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and, in his compassion, 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 it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologised to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot:
"Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the 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."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all Cracked Pots in our own special way and we do not always realise the joy we bring to others. As we seek ways to create a more fulfilling life for ourselves and the human community, let’s be compassionate towards our selves and our limitations. Acknowledge our flaws, bless them, for they too, can be a cause of beauty and will grace the world.
All shall be well.