The Leaking Pot
INSPIRATIONAL, 7 Jun 2021
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a hole in it, 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 house, the leaking 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 to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor leaking pot was ashamed of its 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 you to throw me away and replace me. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this hole in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaw, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.”
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 is because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you have watered them. For two years I have been able to pick some of these beautiful flowers to decorate our table, and many passersby have enjoyed them, too. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be any of these beautiful flowers.”
We all have our own unique flaws, but it is these flaws that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We simply ought to take each person for who and what they are, and look for the good in them. And we can take pride and pleasure in doing what we can without self-recrimination, because even leaking pots may serve a useful purpose such as nourishing beauty.
Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. Fischer was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University 1986-88, has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities, and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 Jun 2021.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: The Leaking Pot, is included. Thank you.
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