There is a Chinese parable a friend told me about several years ago. It is a wonderful story and has great meaning:

There was a water bearer in China who had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole he carried across his neck. Each day he would walk a long distance to the stream to fill the pots so that his family could have water for the day.

One of the pots was perfect, but the other had a crack in it. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full, while the other still carried its full amount. For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only 1½ pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect 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 because this crack in my side causes water to leak all the way back to your house.”

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 planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. 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 the house.”

The moral to this parable is that each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all “cracked pots.” But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We just need to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So it is with people with disabilities. Whether the disability is physical (the result of a stroke, accident or other), emotional or genetically caused (such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or other) whether the disability is severe or mild, everyone has something to offer and contribute to others.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and the very best New Year.

Jane Pic Adams is the mother of an adult daughter with Down syndrome and writes about disability issues. Email her at jpa.article