The ancient Indian story below is a great suggestion for those who are struggling in relationships. A peasant farmer with his broken pot will help you touch the mellow warmth of “altruism.”
In order to make a living, an honest farmer chose to work as a water carrier. In the morning, he would put a bamboo frame on his shoulders. At each end of the bamboo frame was an earthenware pot. He would fill water the two pots with water and load them into the center of the village for everyone to draw water. Everything went smoothly, because our farmer was very hardworking; he was not afraid of difficulties, or suffering, but instead worked very hard.
However, one of the earthenware pots was cracked. Strangely so, the hardworking farmer did not seem to realize this. He still used the cracked one every morning, during his first trip to fetch the water. On one side of the bamboo frame was the cracked pot and on the other side an intact one. The hardworking farmer would pour water into the two pots and walk away. The road from the well to the center of the village was just over a mile.
By the time he got to the center of town the cracked pot was only half full. Meanwhile, the other pot had accomplished its mission perfectly, bringing a full coin to the diligent farmer.
The embarrassment of the broken pot
Very quickly, the story of the cracked pot began to spread in the community of pots. The intact pots could not understand why the farmer kept the cracked pot. It was losing all the precious money that the farmer had worked so hard to earn. And even more they did not understand, why the farmer always chose the cracked pot for that first morning trip.
And then there was the cracked pot that had begun to feel ashamed of itself. It had been serving the farmer for 10 years and was very appreciative of the farmer’s hard work. It began to feel like a burden to the farmer, and it did not understand why its master did not throw it in the trash. It was of no use now.
The pot recalled the past, when it was a perfect pot. Does anyone still remember? It was the most stable pot of the farmer’s journey. But then, on that fateful day, the farmer stumbled. He did not do it on purpose, but it still resulted in painful consequences: the pot almost broke. Large cracks appeared, marking this day as the one that the pot lost its usefulness.
It had been a long time, but the farmer had not discarded the pot.
The road of water
On the way to the well, the farmer regularly did something that surprised the cracked pot and its buddies. He would slip his hand into his pocket, and he’d drop something along the way. None of the pots knew what he was doing.
Some time later, the pot saw its owner scattering something down the street. But that time it was on the other side of the road. But then, the farmer didn’t do this often, so the pots lost interest.
Then, the conversations of the intact pots returned to the old topic: the “uselessness” of the cracked pot. The story spreaded in the pot community and pained the cracked pot even more. The cracks appeared even deeper as the pot thought of the farmer, thought of those who only got half the amount of water they needed, and thought about how the farmer had taken care of it.
But then, the cracked pot had the courage to make a decision. It did not want the thoughts, and the scandal to grow bigger and torture it any more. It would talk to the farmer, and advise him to throw it in the trash.
A warm and pious moral lesson
One night, when the farmer was about to go to sleep, the cracked pot called to him, as it had something to say. Our peasant farmer agreed to listen to the pot. He listened attentively to what cracked pot had to say. The pot, on its part, did not waste a moment, said directly everything that it harbored in its heart.
It wanted the farmer to know that it appreciated him, but it could not get rid of the feeling that it was a useless pot. It did not want the farmer to keep it out of pity. What the farmer needed to do, according to the cracked pot, was to throw it away. Definitely once and for all to be finished.
The farmer smiled while he listened to the story. When the pot was done, the farmer quietly explained: He never thought about throwing away a pot when it was still very useful.
“Am I still useful?” The cracked pot could not believe what it was hearing. It was full of doubt mixed with a bit of pity.
The farmer asked the pot to keep calm. He promised to explain why it was still a useful pot the next morning. The cracked pot had a sleepless night.
The next morning, as promised, the farmer said to the cracked pot: “Please look carefully at the two sides of our path, look at what is on the side of the road.” The pot looked very carefully, but it saw nothing but a very beautiful road, with the two sides full of flower buds.
When the farmer reached the well, the pot told him that it found nothing special along the way. There were only flowers.
The farmer gently looked at the pot: “Since you were cracked, I have figured out how to continue to make the most use of you. And I decided, that occasionally, I would sow seeds along the roadside. You know, thanks to you, I was able to water them every day. Thanks to you, when these flowers bloomed, I could cut them and sell them. The flowers gave me more money than a pot of water could. That’s all thanks to you.”
A small stream slowly flowed through the cracks of the pot. We can guess that it was crying. The pot was silent, it did not know what to say anymore, it only knew that it would devote itself to its owner.
Someone once said: “Your life is only meaningful and complete when you know to keep and nurture dreams, know to hope, know to trust in promises, know to honor those promises, know to courageously come out of pain, and know how to learn from mistakes.”
In this life, situations around us are constantly changing and transforming. Today is sunny, but tomorrow there may be thunderstorms. What we can do and do well is to be optimistic, have faith and hope. Like the pot, without realizing its worth, it fell into pessimism and despair. But when it changed its perception, it knew how to live—live better and give more. No matter what life has in store for you, the important thing is you decide your own path!