The Cracks In Our Lives


Stop and think about it for a moment — how many times have you wondered whether your life has proceeded as it should have? Whether you are too flawed? Whether you have been in line with what your purpose may be?  I’m thinking of those times when suddenly, or not so suddenly, you feel totally useless and without grounding.

Kind of like a leaky pot that can no longer hold water.

And yet I consistently find when I’m feeling my most leaky, broken and useless, I inadvertently discover, and rediscover, my true calling In life. It hasn’t been through shrewd planning or deliberate decision-making that I’ve found my path. It’s been through understanding how my weaknesses can be made into strengths, and how the light shining through my cracks allows me to see my true purpose.

Just like water bearer in this ancient tale:

A water bearer in China had two large pots which hung on each end of a pole that 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 to 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.”

The bearer asked, “Why? What are you ashamed of?”

The pot replied, “For these past two years I am able to deliver only half of 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 don’t get full value for your efforts.”

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.”

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 somewhat. 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.” — An ancient tale, author unknown

I never would have imagined the best of what I would have to share in life would be my cracked pot stories. When I was a young man I yearned for my life be an unmitigated success story, an ever-growing pyramid of achievements.

Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. Those of you who have followed my travels know I’ve found my share of bottoms and owned more than a few failures. And yet through it all it’s been  sharing my cracked pot adventures that has made the difference in the lives of others. These are the seeds that have taken root and brought forth amazing fruit.

I know it because you tell me so.

I am, in truth, a very, very grateful cracked pot.

Just a thought…


Copyright © 2019 Patrick J. Moriarty. All Rights Reserved.

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