Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cracked Pot

In case you're wondering why the name of my blog is so strange, it was based on a story I heard a long time ago, but had since lost.  My mother, who once again has saved my neck, had the story and sent it to me.  I want to make it clear that I did not write this, only read it years ago when it was circulating via email.  Thanks, Mom, again.

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his 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 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 imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 yrs 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. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
Because of my flaws, 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's 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've watered 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."

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. 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.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Gift of My Mother

I heard an interesting little ditty on Christian radio this morning, regarding mothers, and it caught my attention, since I have one and I am one.  The original thing I heard went in one ear and out the other, but left something behind as it went, something that blossomed and took on a life of its own.  It got me thinking about motherhood in general and my own mother in particular. 

It's interesting how God pairs us up, mother and daughter.  Sometimes He'll put two very alike women together, and sometimes it's just the opposite.  I suppose, in terms of personality and disposition, I'm more like my grandmother, or my dad, than like my mom.  We are often on opposite ends when it comes to mothering styles, politics, and general view of the world.  I think God pairs up daughters like me with mothers like her for a purpose.  I have much to learn from her, and she has so many characteristics I would like to emulate, at least as well as my stubborn, hard-headed, overly-practical personality will allow.

My mom was never much of a disciplinarian, but she was always there when we needed her.  She could be counted on for discretion, if it was a problem of an embarrassing nature, and she'd keep her mouth shut afterward.  When I'd do something extremely dumb, if she knew I'd learned my lesson, she'd refrain from bringing up the subject any further.  If it was a "cash flow" issue, she'd find a few bucks from somewhere to help out.  She would always come up with a creative solution to even the stickiest of situations, and she made it look so easy.  And she always seems to know when all that's really needed is a sympathetic ear.  If I ever just needed to "vent", she'd not only listen, but badmouth my adversaries even more profoundly than I!

She was, and still is,  the most fiercely loyal person I have ever known, with the possible exception of HER mother.  It didn't matter what I ever did, she stuck by me, and everyone else who was in her heart.

She also has one of the most tender and loving spirits, and an incredibly sympathetic disposition.  She lives her life with a natural graciousness and unselfishness.  She bears her physical maladies with a poise I will never have. 

One of the most quietly profound things my mom ever did was to give me an article about Madame Curie, an early female scientist and a pioneer if the field of radioactive materials. She probably doesn't even remember this, but I'll never forget it.  That article sparked an interest in science, as well as an immediate love for reading about the lives of other people.  Both of those interests are a big part of my life today, some 40 years later, and I have her to thank for exposing me to things I will spend a lifetime enjoying.

In so many ways, large and small, my mom has shaped my personality for the better, and is still doing so today.  Besides leaving her indelible mark on me, she is also shaping my children, and my grandchildren, for which I am even more grateful.  Life is hard, and they need her example.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trust? Who, me?

You know what baffles me?  Well, a lot of things, in general.  But at the moment, it's this: Whenever there's a problem, say a plumbing problem, I feel so much better knowing we have a plumber who knows what's going on, and has everything he needs at his disposal to fix it.  He's accessible, and when he's here, it's his top priority to get the pipes working again.  I can sit back and rest easy, knowing the plumbing is in good hands, and I don't need to fret about it.

So why is it so hard to trust God so completely?  He's so much more capable and versatile than the plumber!  He has a complete and accurate assessment of my situation at any given time, and he knows exactly what I need and when I need it, and I can trust Him to make the decisions for me that are in my best interest.  What a great setup! 

But as with plumbing, sometimes life doesn't go as we planned...  God may not have created those circumstances, but if something happens, it's because He chose to allow it.  And if He chooses to allow it, He has a reason for it.  He will get us through it, and give us what we need as we need it, and use those unpleasant circumstances to bless us in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.  God doesn't waste a hurt.  I know that.

But still, when Icky Stuff looms around the corner, and the worry threatens the present as well as the future, it shouldn't be so hard to take a deep breath and hand it over to a God so capable and loving, and to be willing to follow where he leads.  He knows what He's doing.