Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….

An Old Chinese Parable: “Cracked Pot Friend”

Early every morning an elderly Chinese lady would walk down to the stream with a pole across her shoulders holding a pot on each end. One of those pots had a crack in it so that by the time she got back home, half the water in the cracked pot was gone. This went on for many many years.

One day the cracked pot expressed her disappointment to the lady. “Why do you put up with me, she says-clearly, I am not worth it.”

The lady says to the pot, I have always known your flaw my friend, that is why I implanted seeds on your side of the path, so that they may be watered by the water you drop. And now those seeds have bloomed into beautiful flowers and those flowers now make my morning aches, bearable.

Photo by Oleg Magni on

Once a week I go visit with my parents. They are quite the characters and my world will be a little less exciting when they are gone. We try really hard to be in the moment as mom is on Hospice and dad is her main caregiver. They ROCK!

So I am visiting and mom likes to talk about the kids and great grand kids and the such whereas my dad likes to talk business and money….which is super funny to me because they have no money. Dad always says he hopes that someone will die and leave us money because when he dies he isn’t leaving a “pot to piss in” yep, that’s my dad.
This last week It seems that moods have been heavy, my clients seem tired, sad and even depressed. Not all of them of course, but that feeling of overwhelm was definitely at the forefront of emotions. It is an average of 112 degrees outside, so that probably plays into our emotional well-being. I am sharing this with my dad and he starts laughing. Now I take my clients very seriously, so I am quick to come to their emotional rescue and reassure him that these are NO laughing matters.
He tells me that when he was a young boy he went every summer to work in the fields of his grandparents. Their crops mostly consisted of cotton and peppers. From what he says, this was hard work, from sun up to sun down, but it was the best time of his life. He says that one evening at supper, one of his aunts mentions that she is feeling a bit depressed….he said that my great grandma Dovie said “Well hell, I got children to raise, laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to cook, animals to feed, crops that need tending and a man that needs loving….I don’t have time to be depressed”

I put my head down and said “Dad, I wouldn’t have lasted one day in Great grandma Dovie’s shoes.” My dad in all his wisdom said “ That’s ok, no one is asking you to wear her shoes, you got your own shoes to wear, your own trials, your own journey. Just do your best.”

That’s why I love the parable of the cracked pot….we all have our “cracks” those imperfections can be our strengths. We need to surround ourselves with others who lift and support us. Who see our flaws and admire us anyways.

I have seen pictures of grandma Dovie, she looked older than her years and tired but her smile could charm anyone. My dad says he has never met another woman more beautiful than her. It wasn’t her outward appearances that made her beautiful, it was all that “good stuff “ inside. We all have “good stuff” I thought this parable was a sweet reminder of that.


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