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The Leaking Pot

By Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)


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     A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one
end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had
a hole 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 leaking 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 house. Of
course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the
poor leaking pot was ashamed of its 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 you to throw me away and replace me. I have
been able to deliver only half my load because this hole in my side
causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of
my flaw, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full
value from your efforts."

     The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were
flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's
side? That is because I have always known about your flaw, and I
planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while
we walk back, you have watered them. For two years I have been able
to pick some of these beautiful flowers to decorate our table, and
many passersby have enjoyed them, too. Without you being just the
way you are, there would not be any of these beautiful flowers."

     We all have our own unique flaws, but it is these flaws that
make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We
simply ought to take each person for who and what they are, and
look for the good in them. And we can take pride and pleasure in
doing what we can without self-recrimination, because even leaking
pots may serve a useful purpose such as nourishing beauty.



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