How do you deal with life's challenges?
How do you handle adversity when it comes your way?
How do you react when something is just not right, when it is not perfect?
The Old Mule in the Well
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical!
But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up!
This he did, blow after blow.
"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!"
He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows of dirt, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!
It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well.
The dirt that seemed would bury him, actually blessed him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
Can You See The Treasure?
A king once had a prized jewel, an exquisite diamond. As he held it to the light, perfection glinted from every of its luminous facets. This gem, he felt, would be the crown jewel in his magnificent diadem.
One morning the king awoke, and upon taking out his precious treasure he found, much to his dismay, that there was a single thin crack descending down its face.
The greatest jewelers were called to look at the stone in the hopes of fixing it, but nothing could be done—the crack ran so deeply down the face of the diamond that any effort to remove it would further ruin it.
Finally, one jeweler, a simple man from one of the neighboring villages, stepped forward. He would save the diamond, he claimed.
The king laughed. The greatest craftsmen in the world had seen the gem, and deemed it hopeless; how could this simple jeweler hope to do anything?
Seeing, though, that there was nothing to lose, the king informed the jeweler that he could spend a single night with the diamond. If he managed to fix it, then he would see great reward. If, however, he did not succeed, a bitter lot awaited him.
Locked in his room, the jeweler took a long look at the stone. It was truly magnificent, sparkling like the fire of the sun on the surface of the water. And the crack, however thin, could not be removed without destroying the precious crown jewel in the process. What could be done?
The next morning, the jeweler came out with the the stone in hand, a look of triumph on his face.
When he produced the gemstone, the entire royal court—the queen, the ministers, even the jester—erupted in an uproar. The scratch had not been removed; it remained in its place. The jeweler had instead etched a rose, the symbol of the kingdom, on the face of the diamond, turning the crack into its stem.
The king stood up from his throne and embraced the simple jeweler.
“Now, I truly have my crown jewel!” he said. “The diamond was magnificent until now, the best I had ever seen. It was, however, no different than any other stone. Now, though, I have a truly unique treasure!”
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