I had an eye-opening experience this week that I thought I would share. For most of my life I have been very active and physically fit. I used to tease my boys when they were teenagers about trying to keep up with me on walks and hiking. I love the outdoors and one of my favorite things is hiking in the Uintah mountains. There are so many trails and beautiful lakes if you go far enough in you can find lakes that are so crystal clear you can see all the way to the bottom and watch the fish swimming. There are not enough places with such unspoiled beauty left in the world today.
For the last 16 years of my life, I have not been able to enjoy the wonderful mountainous backcountry that I love so much. On Halloween day October 31st, 2000 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Over the last 16 years, my life has changed so much. I gave myself shots every week for the first 7 years and then decided to go with a more natural course of treatment. The day I stopped those shots was a very scary one because my doctor promised me if I did that soon I would be in a wheelchair. Well, it is 9 years later and you probably would never know that there was anything wrong with me by just looking at me. I still have aches and pains and my legs won’t take me up a mountain anymore but I am doing remarkably well.
This week I witnessed someone with MS fall out of their walker seat and they could not get back up. They required someone to lift them off the floor and back into a chair. It is hard for me to not be able to hike anymore but this experience really made me stop and think about how grateful I should be for all the things that I am still able to do; God has truly blessed me! God made all of us just the way we are and no matter what our circumstances we each have great value and purpose in his plan as this story shows.
THE CRACKED POT: A STORY FOR ANYONE WHO’S NOT QUITE PERFECT
A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her 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 mistress’s 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 her master’s house.
The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end 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 two years 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.”
Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion, she said, “As we return to the mistress’s house, I want you to notice 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 its load, and so again it 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 mistress’s table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house.”
We all need to see ourselves as God sees us, perfect just as we are!