Good Things Come from Leaky Buckets

How do we make good things out of bad? How do we look at the world? Can there be a brighter side even in our pain? This beautiful story demonstrates how important a positive attitude is in our everyday lives. It clearly shows us that it is important to trust ourselves and the process of grief.

An enlightening story from the internet

I ran across a story about an elderly Chinese woman who had two large buckets. Each bucket hung on the ends of a long pole, which she carried across her neck. One of those buckets had a crack in it and the other bucket was perfect. The perfect bucket always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house. But the cracked bucket arrived only half full.

For a full two years the Chinese woman went daily to the stream with the two buckets and she would carry home one and one half buckets of water. Of course, the perfect bucket was proud of its accomplishments. The cracked bucket however, was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been created to do.

After two years of what the cracked bucket perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house and you work so hard.”

The old woman smiled and said, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other bucket’s side? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water the flowers. 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 my house and give me so much joy.”

As I think about the story, I am reminded that each of us has our own flaws. When we are grieving, we feel that those flaws are magnified. We are unable to meet the demands of others or ourselves. We begin to look at our flaws and feel out of control and uncertain about our future. We see ourselves as helpless and often feel hopeless. We are afraid to trust our feelings and may even think that we are going crazy at times.

But, you see, this story says a lot to us. If we can just accept ourselves for who we are and allow ourselves to experience the feelings of grief, we, too, can blossom into something new and different. For, you see, we are not flawed, our lives have just been altered. In response to this altering, we can choose how we adapt to the changes and create our lives in a way that they will honor the life of our loved ones. In doing this, it helps to remember that if we had not loved, we would not be grieving. We grieve because we love. If we do not accept what seem like flaws – our weaknesses and our feelings – we may avoid the suffering and sorrow but we will not feel or change or grow or love or live again. It is only when we risk experiencing these emotions that we become truly free.

Through these “flaws,” great things can come. If we just trust ourselves and trust the process of grief, we will see the sun again and we will be able to smell the flowers on the side of the road.

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