By Tom Quiner
I’d like to talk about two persons, both nameless.
Before I talk about them, let me share two things, or rather two ideas. The first idea comes from the man who help to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. His name is Plato. As you know, he is the famous classical Greek philosopher who died in 347 BC. Here is what he said:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
The second idea flows from a story that’s been around. I don’t know to whom to attribute this story, or short sermon, but it is wonderful. Thank-you who ever you are:
THE CRACKED WATER POT
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each 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 a half pots full of water in his master’s house.
Of course, 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 walk 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.”
The moral of this story is:
Each of us has our own unique flaws.
We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.
There is a lot of good out there.
So who are the two persons I’d like to introduce you to? The first is a pregnant woman who shall remain nameless. She is unhappy she is pregnant. She is not sure if she wants to keep the daughter in her womb. She faces rejection from the most important people in her life if they find out she is pregnant. She doesn’t know if she can afford this baby. Her life will be more difficult if her daughter is born.
She is fighting a hard battle.
I suspect she is a “cracked pot” herself, much like I am. Probably much like you, too.
This flawed creature is in need of something important right now: love.
The second person to whom I’d like to introduce you is truly nameless, because she hasn’t been born yet. It is the woman’s daughter.
Like her mother, she is fighting a hard battle. She is fighting for her life.
Like her mother, like you and me, she too is a cracked pot. She simply hasn’t had the time to show us her flaws like the rest of us have done time and time again. However, we know something about this girl in her mother’s womb: she is happy she is alive. She doesn’t know anything else. Life is beautiful once you take your first sniff of its intoxicating bouquet. She desires life, although she doesn’t yet realize its challenges. She only knows its beauty.
To the nameless mother, yes, you are a cracked pot. But what a beautiful pot. You have a lovely flower in you that the world desperately needs.
We love you. We love your daughter. And you’re not alone.
If you feel you’re alone, there is an organization called BirthRight that can give you practical help and encouragement. In Des Moines, call 515-633-2133. Or call their national crisis hotline now: 1-800-550-4900.
You are not alone.
To the rest of us, be kind. The woman you meet may be fighting a hard battle.