The Cracked Pots of Life

The Parable of the Cracked Pot
The Cracked Pot

There’s a parable type of story doing the rounds of social networks at present, it’s all about a couple of old guys in hospital, but more about them later…

It’s strange I know, but I’ve always actually liked these kinds of story, but I’ve never been pious or the God Bothering type, I wasn’t even an average theology student during RE lessons at school.

All parables (religious or otherwise), are designed to make you think, not just about life in general but more importantly, they promote consideration about how your life impacts upon others.

A parable is a succinct story which illustrates one or more instructive principles or lessons… It differs from fables which often use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters. It’s a type of analogy…(

I mostly like the ancient ones, ones told before the emergence of many of the predominant modern-day human faults and traits. Ones like The Parable of The Cracked Pot from China but also, the fables and sagas from ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history. I like the Native American ones like The Two Wolves parable of The Cherokee Nation.

In short and throughout the history of mankind there have always been story-tellers, people who have passed on their tales, in verbal written and musical form to every generation of every nation. Some factual and some mythical but all interesting; be they folklore or factoid they’re all important, it’s part of the historical information that helped forge our intelligent society.

Ok so now for the ‘old men’ story:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man in the ward had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end each day. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in military service and places where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital porters to remove the man’s body.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed… It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

We all need to try to make the most of every day – Yesterday is history and despite tomorrow often being a mystery, today and every day is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy!

One thought on “The Cracked Pots of Life

  1. I too love the native American Tales… That take on life inspires me…
    If only there were more *blind men* the gift of encouragement is a precious one Thank you for sharing Dave


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