A friend of my wife forwarded one of those feel-good, spirit-lifting homily emails which I was supposed to forward to ten of my friends to put a smile on their face.  It is admittedly cheesy, but it nonetheless remains a colourful, sweet parable on turning adversity to advantage and embracing the positive in failings.  The closing words have a more emotional and even aesthetic appeal for embracing failure which is that it is these failings that make life ‘so very interesting and rewarding.’  I haven’t forwarded the email to any of my friends, but I’m hoping posting it here might just qualify me for whatever positive karma that it is supposed to bestow.

“An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck.  One of the pots had a crack 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 cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?" "That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.  Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.”

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  If life gives you cracked pots, plant flowers.

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