I’ve recently graduated my pre-employment program and have been going through my binder of handouts I was given while attending. The program is first and foremost aimed at women who face barriers obtaining a job as a result of abuse and other major life struggles. Perfect for me who hasn’t worked for about 4 years and have fled abuse. Today I wanted to share with you a short story that I often think of when I feel like I am a broken human being who offers nothing to anyone but cracks and failure.
A water bearer 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 was only half full.
For a full two years, this went on daily with the bearer only delivering 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.
Nevertheless, the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections 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, 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 of my load because this crack 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 smiled and 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 wildflowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. However, at the end of the trail, it still felt bad for leaking 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 is 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 have 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: Each one of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. However, it’s the cracks and flaws that we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You simply need to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
There is a lot of good out there.
There is a lot of good in you.
I struggle with remembering that I am not just another statistic. Yes, I was abused. Yes, I’m a single mom. Yes, I’m broke and living on welfare. Yes, I’m unemployed. Yes, I am broken and will forever deal with mental health issues because of a very traumatizing past. I am the cracked pot. Most times that’s all I can think of, the fact that I am cracked and leaking water everywhere and not fully doing what I was made to do.
It’s stories like these that remind me to sit down and remember that I all these things, yes, but I’m also good.
I’m a good mom who loves my son. I work hard at my mental health and seek help often when things get tough. I am persistent and resilient. I’ve fought to survive and am still kicking. I’m a kind person, who hasn’t let my past turn me into a bitter person. I’m creative, constantly seek new information, am dedicated to taking care of myself and learning to combat my problems healthily. And I do everything I can to ensure my son is able to have the best life that I can provide him, even if it means I go without sometimes. I am loyal, regardless of my failed marriage. I am capable, regardless of my being on social assistance. I am a warrior because I am fighting every single day to make my life better.
I am cracked. I am flawed. I have some really big issues and struggles that I deal with daily, but I offer so much to the world. I must not forget. I must not forget. I must not forget, I am good enough.
Before You Go
I hope this short story reminds you that there is also good in you, even if you’re cracked, leaking and flawed. It’s not always easy to remember this, especially when comparing yourself to others who you are supposed to look like, but are seemingly so much more perfect than yourself. It’s a good idea to have a good friend by you that can help remind you of just how awesome you are.
If you are looking for another inspiring short story, check out An Autobiography in 5 short chapters. I also was given that story in one of my group workshops and it not only made me think deeply about my life but inspired me to keep walking down this new street.