A carpenter and his apprentice were walking through a large forest. They came across an old oak tree. The carpenter asked his apprentice, “Do you know why this tree is so tall, so huge, so gnarled and beautiful?” The apprentice looked at his master and said, “No… Why?” “Because it is useless,” answered the carpenter. “If it had been useful, it would have been cut long ago and made into tables and chairs. But because it is useless, it could grow so tall and beautiful and you can sit in its shade and relax.”

We constantly confuse worth with usefulness. Witness the way we treat the old and the economically unproductive. No longer do we seek to benefit from their wisdom and experience. I wondered about the number of harried, “useful” people who had identified their worth with the numbers, statistics and concrete results they could deliver, the societal praise and adulation, and I realised how much wisdom there was in the elderly.

We talk about a society with a “human face”. Yet, most of the underlying premises of our society, our jobs, environment, our social groups is based on equating worth with “usefulness”.

What we have is the fellowship of the strong and the able. What we need also to develop is the fellowship of the weak and the disabled, who are often more transparent and open and from whom we can learn. Most people defend their “usefulness” for as long as they can.

Instead, if they learnt to share their “uselessness”, they would, like the beautiful oak tree that —though gnarled and old — is beautiful, providing shade and sustenance to others.

by Janina Gomes

Originally at https://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/the-speaking-tree/know-your-true-worth/

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Saving Titanic

Tue31May16

There were three ships which were nearby when the Titanic sunk.

One of them was known as the Sampson. It was 7 miles away from the Titanic and they saw the white flares signalling danger, but because the crew had been hunting seals illegally and didn’t want to be caught, they turned and went the opposite direction away from the Titanic. This ship represents us and people like us if we are so busy looking inward at our own sin and lives that we can’t recognize when someone else is in need.

The next ship was the Californian. This ship was only 14 miles away from the Titanic, but they were surrounded by ice fields and the captain looked out and saw the white flares, but because the conditions weren’t favourable and it was dark, he decided to go back to bed and wait until morning. The crew tried to convince themselves that nothing was happening. This ship represents those of us who say I can’t do anything now. The conditions aren’t right for it and so we wait until conditions are perfect before going out.

The last ship was the Carpathia. This ship was actually headed in a southern direction 58 miles away from the Titanic when they heard the distress cries over the radio. The captain of this ship knelt down, prayed to God for direction and then turned the ship around and went full steam ahead through the ice fields. This was the ship that saved the 705 survivors of the Titanic.

🌎 🌍 🌏

🎀 ANALOGY –

Obstacles and reasons to avoid responsibility shall always be there, but those who accept it always find a place in the hearts to be remembered for the world of good they do.

Garuda, the eagle, was enjoying the song of a sparrow atop Mount Kailash, when he saw Yama, the god of death, also looking at the bird. But Yama was frowning. Maybe he did not like the song. Fearing for the welfare of the little bird, Garuda, with compassion in his heart, decided to take the bird away from Yama’s line of sight.

Garuda took the bird in the palm of his hand, and flew to a forest far away beyond seven mountains and seven rivers. There, he left the sparrow on a tree full of succulent fruits.

When he returned to Mount Kailash, he found Yama smiling. Yama explained, “My account books are balanced. I saw a sparrow here singing a song. It is supposed to die today but not here. It is supposed to die in a forest far away beyond seven mountains and seven rivers, eaten by a python that lives under a tree full of succulent fruits. This has happened, thanks to you, Garuda.”

Garuda realized that what he thought was an act of kindness turned out to be an act of cruelty for the sparrow.

You seek a right decision: but right for whom? You? Your career? Your family? Your team? Your organization? Sometimes our success works against us in the long run. Sometimes our failure works in our favor by creating wonderful opportunities. There is no certainty in life.

Excerpt from http://devdutt.com/articles/which-way-is-the-right-way.html

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