Stories from Dr. Yukari, Story 40, Cracked Jar

[ Stories from Dr. Yukari ]

Guided by the hope of St. Nichiren, we continue to work towards a peaceful society. Honolulu Myohoji Mission collaborates with Psychologist Dr. Yukari Kunisue, a trained and experienced therapeutic life coach, to offer a safe online space: Stories from Dr. Yukari




This story originated in India. Long time ago, a male servant known as the bearer had to fetch water from up the stream a few times every day. In order to do this, he balanced heavy jars on his shoulders which were attached to the ends of the wooden pole. Due to the intense hot climate in this part of India, fresh clean water from the upper stream was precious. Water remained cool in these jars due to the well-designed terra cotta jars. Returning back from collecting the water, the full jars heavily pressed into the bearer’s back. 


One day, the servant was taking a short break under a big tree when he heard the two terra cotta jars having a conversation. Both jars came from the same factory and looked almost identical. Despite being good jars, one of them had small cracks. The water would often drip little by little through the cracks losing water by the end of the journey. The other jar would often accuse the cracked one of being a disgrace and being unable to serve his master properly. Recognizing his own shortcomings, the cracked jar felt shameful for his imperfections. 


The servant was surprised to overhear their conversation. He decided to share his thoughts with them, “both of you work so hard every day for me and for our master. You never complain and spend many hours with me while going up and down the dusty slope towards the top of the stream.” The non-cracked, perfect jar assumed that this compliment was directed mainly at him and not at the cracked jar. But then, the servant turned towards the cracked jar and said, “you work so hard and help us.”


The servant continued, “when I saw both of you for the first time, I noticed one of you had cracks even though you were both brand new jars from the factory. I then asked the gardener to share some of his flower seeds.” The servant then told the jars to pay attention to the pretty flowers on the way back. He faced the cracked jar and said, “as the cracked jar, you give the flowers just the right splash of water to the soil.” The servant once again thanked the cracked jar by adding that he was always consoled by the beautiful flowers on their way back to the house. He added that others also enjoyed the view of the flowers while they pass by. Then he turned to face the perfect jar thanking it saying that the master enjoyed drinking ample cool water. He said, “both of you help people”.


A client of mine shared this story from India. A mother in her 50’s with a 13-year-old son told me that her son is similar to the “cracked jar”. She said this smiling while looking at me with her kind eyes. Her tone of voice was full of love. While she was pregnant, she was already in her 40’s and was told by doctors that her fetus will be born with an extra chromosome indicating that her child will be born with down syndrome. She and her husband chose to cherish the gift of life and the baby was then born.


Her son Bobby grew up to be a sweet boy with amazing artistic talent while being slightly behind in his overall intelligence. He draws and paints beautiful pieces of art. Now that he has grown up to be a middle schooler, the client wanted to go back to school herself. Her goals in meeting with a life coach involved organizing her life to better prepare herself with this new phase of her life. Through the caretaking experience with her son, she gained valuable knowledge into being a caretaker. She decided that she wanted to receive training in order to become a professional caretaker. 


The client shared with me that, “Bobby seemed to mature ever since I told him that I would be going back to school. When I looked in his eyes, I told him firmly that his mother needed to study and she needed his support.” She noticed that Bobby started trying to do things on his own so that his caretaker parents wouldn’t have to anymore. She added, “my cracked jar gives us so much joy and pride. His artworks and the mere fact that he is growing up are similar to the beauty of the roadside flowers in the Indian tale.” 


We may easily say that Bobby is similar to the cracked jar due to his disability. While he may not have the same intelligence levels as his peers, he is deeply treasured. When looking closely, we can see that these cracks have helped produce these beautiful roadside flowers and we can even say that these cracks are a precious gift. While the perfect jar can carry a full load of fresh water, the cracked jar gives us hope and a reason to smile.