A Heart’ Soup with James Mailady, SVD

  1. Oyster Stew

There was once an oyster whose story I’ll tell,
Who found that some sand had worked under his shell.
Just one little grain but it gave him pain
(For oysters have feelings that are very plain).
Now did he berate this working of fate,
That left him in such a deplorable state?
Did he curse the government? Call for an election?
Or gripe that the sea should have given protection?
No! He said to himself as he sat on the shelf,
“Since I cannot remove it, I think I’ll improve it.”
Well, years passed by as years always do,
Till he came to his destiny, Oyster stew!
But the small grain of sand that had bothered him so,
Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow!
Now this tale has a moral, for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do with a small grain of sand?
And what couldn’t we do if we’d only begin
With all of the things that get under our skin?
(Author Unknown)

The simple attitude, “since I cannot remove it, I think I’ll improve it” is life transforming in itself. Oftentimes we hear people say, ‘life is difficult.’ It is true and we know it from our own experiences. But it may be good to ask ourselves, what makes life difficult or who makes life difficult? Do I not have a share in making life difficult? Is it not my attitude to life and problems that makes life difficult? As it is said, a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
We speak of change and we want things to be different. The challenge is to be the Change! We know we have a choice. We have the power to change these difficulties to opportunities or we can quit. Of course, it is easy to quit. The tragedy is that we do not believe that we can make a difference by our lives.
Mahadev Desai, Gandhi’s secretary said the following about Gandhi: “You don’t understand Gandhi. You see, what he thinks is what he feels. What he feels is what he says. And what he says is what he does. What Gandhi thinks, what he feels, what he says and what he does are all the same. You and I think things, which sometimes maybe different than what we feel. What we say depends on who’s listening. What we do depends on who’s watching. It is not so with him.”

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