I filled the pulpit for a friend today. While doing sermon prep, I ran across a story/parable that fits nicely with the study I have been doing on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown.
Why does it take us so long to realize we are perfect, just the way we are?
The Cracked Pot
A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of these pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of a long walk from the stream to the master’s house; the cracked pot arrived only half-full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer only delivering one and a half pots full of water to the house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of his accomplishments---perfect to the end for which it was made. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of his own 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, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer one day. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the water bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way to the house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from you efforts, the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, ‘As we return to the house, I want you to notice all of the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half of its load again, so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
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 took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my table. Without you being just the way you are, I would not have this beauty to grace my house.