Something to offer II

My last post reminded me of an old story. I don’t know its origins, or even where I first came across it, but I have rewritten it below.


Once there was a man who lived in a hot and dry land, in a small village near a river. Each day he would set a yoke across his shoulders and carry two buckets down the path to the river. There he would fill the buckets, and walk back up the path to the village with the water he needed for his day.

One day, a neighbour spoke to him as he returned to his home, saying;

“Every day I see you walk down to the river, and carry back your buckets of water. But one of your buckets comes back half empty. It is old and worn, and it leaks. You need a new bucket.”

The man smiled at his neighbour, and beckoned her towards the path down to the river.

“What do you see?” he asked.

The neighbour looked, and for the first time she noticed something she had given no thought to before. On one side of the path, the ground was dry and bare, cracked in the heat of the sun. But on the other side, a wondrous array of colours lined the path; flowers of every shape and hue.

“See how the flowers thrive, that have been watered every day by the drops that fall from my bucket,” he smiled. Stooping to pick a bright bloom, he handed it to her, and watched her smile in return. “See what joy an old, leaky bucket can bring!”

And together they walked back to the village under the hot sun, while the flowers danced.


For me, the lesson is not just that everyone has something to offer, but that it may not be what other people think it should be. It may not even be what you think it should be. The imperfections that you see in yourself may be exactly what lead you to the place where you can do the most good. Your greatest gifts may spring from your biggest failures. So, be kind to yourself. You too have something to offer, and whatever it is, it is enough.

(The illustration was done with a footprint stamp, black inkpen and Promarkers.)

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