The Cracked Vase

Updated: May 23, 2020

There was once a famous potter who was the creator of beautiful vases. What he was well-known for was his talent in making every vase unique in its own way and designing each one for a specific function. The vases however didn't quite understand that; for them the most important thing was to be the most special vase and be the greatest among all other ones. In reality though, that was not how everything was. At the end of the day, some vases were admired for their beauty, some were admired for holding flowers while other ones were meant to be given as a gift and bring smiles to their receivers. In the midst of all these vases, there was one that had cracks and seemed half-broken. The potter, believing in his ability and talent, didn't make an effort to repair it but let the vase to be just like that. The vase didn't understand the purpose behind the potter's action; at the same time, it was jealous of other vases who didn't have cracks. “ They are prettier than me” the vase though, “ At least they don't have any outside cracks.” What the cracked vase didn't understand, was that it held a special place in the potter's heart as other vases; with one difference that the potter would take the cracked vase outside with him everyday to get some water from the fountain near by his house and bring it back again after a long walk. This approach of the potter didn't make sense to the cracked vase as well. “ How can I be any use when I am not able to hold any water?” the vase thought to itself. But it seemed the potter knew exactly what he was doing and enjoyed every one of his unique creation in their own special way.

The cracked vase saw itself useless most of the time and perceived every journey with the potter outside as something he couldn't quite understand. One day the potter decided to describe the purpose of the cracked vase's creation. “ As we walk outside together, you water all the flowers on the sidewalks because of your cracks; you give them life and that is your purpose; while other vases I make have different functions, yours is the best out of all. Every day you become empty of yourself and make flowers bloom every day.” The potter said, “ While at the same time the flowers serve different functions; they bring smiles to those who walk past them because their beauty opens people's eyes into earth's wonders.” The cracked vase was happy; after all it served a great purpose-- in a way the greatest out of all; being empty of itself and letting the world shine through. It admired the potter every day; realizing he knew what he was doing by creating every vase with a purpose.

Important lessons on Purpose:

Purpose by definition means the reason something or someone was created. When we look at it more closely, purpose determines the design and function of the created thing. When we find our purpose, we find our work at the same time and discover what is unique about us. Viktor Frankl, one of the fathers of Existential Therapy and the author of the well-known book Man's Search for Meaning, describes the search for purpose and meaning as, “ the primary motivation of human's experience”. The whole theory and concept of Existential Therapy is based on finding a meaning for your life and using sufferings to an advantage by finding a purpose for yourself and the world around you. There are three important principles about purpose that we need to realize:

1- Every human being has a purpose and is in a need of discovery: As Viktor Frankl mentioned, our greatest search is for meaning and purpose. Before we look outside and decide what we want to be, we first need to look within ourselves and discover our own unique calling. At the same time, finding our purpose can't be done alone. We need good-hearted, caring people who have the eyes to see our potential and help us discover that. We also need to go to our Source and ask Him for the reason He created us as He is the potter and we are the pots.

2- Finding your purpose means finding yourself: As purpose determines our function and design, the moment we find our purpose, we have found ourselves and what is meaningful for us. The Choice Theory developed by William Glasser encourages us to take responsibility for our lives and through setting right goals, find meaning that can greatly affect our mental health. We become the happiest when we find our why and are able to cultivate that every day by the information we receive, our daily actions and teaming up with the right people.

3- Our purpose is always rooted in service: Nothing in the world can make us greater than service. The key to greatness is always related to serving others. Our purpose is always driven outside of ourselves and calls us to touch people's lives in a positive way. One of the best ways we can understand our purpose is to see if it is a way of serving others. We were created to serve one another with our gifts and talents.

When we find our purpose, there is no room for comparison, jealousy or trying to be someone else. We become what is natural to us and our original selves. As the birds were created to fly so each human was created for a specific purpose. All we need to do is discover that within our hearts and then enjoy the process while asking ourselves at the end of each day, “ How have I served today?”

Story Re-Written & Content is Copyrighted by Parsa Peykar

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