The Cracked Pot (We Are Imperfect)
He got up from his cot, and went to lay alongside his grandfather. Dev made way for him, but did not speak.
He silently nuzzled into his grandfather, feeling the familiar loving warmth from the old man.
“I am flawed,” he whispered silently, his body shaking with the force of emotion now breaking loose.
Tears rolled off his cheeks and were soaked up hungrily by his grandfather’s cotton shirt.
Love cleanses, Dev knew, and the boy had to be taught a lesson to last him a lifetime.
Catharsis is never painless. But the earlier the treatment could be administered, the earlier the recovery could begin.
When the boy’s violently racking body had finally settled down into infrequent spasms, Dev turned around towards him.
His warm compassionate hand reached across to smooth his grandson’s hair.
“A water bearer,” he said, “had two large pots. Each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck, as he walked a long walk from the stream to his house daily.”
“One of the pots had a crack in it. So, each day the cracked pot arrived home only half full. The other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water.”
“For a very long time, 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, perfect for which it was made. But 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 designed to do.”
“After years of shame, and guilt, and what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the cracked pot finally mustered the courage to confess his shortcomings to the water bearer.”
“I am ashamed of myself, it said, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because a crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”
“Did you notice,” the bearer replied, “that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the perfect pot’s side?”
“I have always known about your flaw. So, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. And every day, while we walked back to the house from the stream, you’ve watered them for me.”
“For years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my home. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace my house!”
“The moral of the story is that we all have our faults. Nobody is perfect! Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots, but can still be useful in our own way.”
“Succeeding despite our imperfections leads to a fulfilled life. This is what can bring out greatness in us. For our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
“It’s the cracks, the faults, the flaws we all have, that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. Yep, we’ve just got to take each person for who they are, and look for the good in them.”
“Strength lies in weakness?” Rosh was trying to understand. “You’re not just giving hope to a loser to make him feel good about himself?”
“No,” answered Dev, “a good builder works with all kinds of materials. Wood and metal have different strengths and weaknesses. Clay and cement are different. Yet, there is a place for all of them when one is creating a home.”
“Everything serves a purpose. Even our weaknesses and imperfections. What one can do, the other can’t. So, a good tradesman doesn’t blame his tools. He just learns to make the best use of whatever he’s got.”
‘Indeed!’ thought Rosh, as he contemplated the story. ‘Without the water-bearer’s compassion, his observation of the pot’s weakness, and without his putting it to good use, he wouldn’t be collecting flowers at all!’
‘But if he hadn’t had the foresight and intelligence to plant flower seeds on the path, the cracked pot would have still watered something. What? Weeds, perhaps?’
‘These could still have benefitted insects and our herbivore friends. So, weakness could still turn out to be strength really. Blessings to all of us crackpots! But how do I learn to see things that way?’
‘Would I rather be a perfect pot,’ Rosh asked himself, unaware that his grandfather beside him was already fast asleep and snoring heavily, ‘or a cracked pot who strives to become useful?’
‘Neither!’ he concluded. ‘The pots are what they are. They don’t have a choice in the matter. I am who I am – perfect or flawed – and I have no choice in the matter of my being.’
‘But I can still choose to become. I would like to become the water bearer, the one who knew how to make even a cracked pot lead a full, useful life.’
‘A compassionate, caring person. Smart! Not wasting anything. Not my talents, not my imperfections. Not even a drop of water!”’
Written by Rajeev Wadhwa