Friday, July 2, 2010

The Cracked Jar

Thirty years ago I was young, and inexperienced; to the point of being naive.

But I was also full of energy, and confident that I had (or would have) everything figured out.

(Ah, the arrogance of youth.)

Today I am in a different place.
I am older, and more experienced, yes.
But I lack the energy and exuberance of my youth;
My eyesight has diminished to where I now need glasses;
My battle-scarred hands, once powerful, now lack the dexterity and stamina to keep up with excessive physical demands.
And confidence? Where I was once borderline arrogant and "knew" I had it all figured out, I now question everything I know - or think I know.

Having said all this I admit to have been honestly questioning the validity of starting this blog.

After all, in today's fast moving/high tech/globalized world I am beginning to feel like some kind of antiquated fossil for persevering with a line of work that, on some days, appears destined for the scrapheaps of history.

While ruminating on these thoughts I stumbled upon Paulo Coelho's blog today, and found some inspiration in a story he reposted.

It is called "The Cracked Jar", and I have reposted it below:

An Indian legend tells of a man who carried water to his village every day, in two large jars tied to the ends of a wooden pole, which he balanced on his back.

One of the jars was older than the other, and had some small cracks; every time the man covered the distance to his house, half of the water was lost.

For two years, the man made the same journey. The younger jar was always very proud of its performance, safe in the knowledge that it was up to the mission it had been made for, while the other jar was mortified with shame at only fulfilling half of its allotted task, even though it knew that those cracks were the result of many years hard work.

It was so ashamed that one day, while the man got ready to fetch water from the well, it decided to speak to him: "I want to apologize, but because of the many years of service, you are only able to deliver half of my load, and quench half of the thirst which awaits you at your home."

The man smiled, and said: "When we return, observe carefully the path."
And so it did. And the jar noticed that, on its side, many flowers and plants grew.

"See how nature is more lovely on your side?" commented the man.
"I always knew you were cracked, and decided to make use of this fact. I planted flowers and vegetables, and you have always watered them. I have picked many roses to decorate my house with, I have fed my children with lettuce, cabbage and onions. If you were not as you are, how could I have done that?"

All of us, at some point, grow old and start to acquire other qualities. We can always make the most of each one of these new qualities and obtain a good result.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for passing this tale along. It made me smile. I think I'll make a point of reading it once a month (lol).