I shared this story with my synagogue community as we welcomed the new Jewish year earlier this week:
An old woman had two water cans which were attached to a yoke. Each day she put the yoke over her shoulders and went down to the river, filled the cans, and walked back to her modest hut. The water can on the right side of the yoke was fine and sturdy; when she arrived home it was always full. But the can on the left had a crack in it. By the time the woman arrived home, half the water was usually gone.
The water can always felt inferior to his partner. He was ashamed that he was cracked and wasn’t pulling his weight. One day he turned to the woman and apologized for being defective. The woman smiled gently and said:
“Did you think I didn’t know that you had a crack, and water dripped from you? Look at the path from the river to my hut. Do you see all the beautiful flowers that are growing on the one side of the path? Those are the flowers that I planted there, that you watered every day as I walked home from the river.”
Whether we celebrate the new Jewish year or not, may we all learn to embrace our cracks and discover that what we consider to be a weakness allows life to bloom all around us.