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Posts Tagged ‘Attitude determines outlook’

(A new folk tale)

It was toward sundown when William the Potter shuffled into his humble cottage and shut the door using a little more force than necessary. With several grunts he peeled off his jacket and scarf. And once his outer clothing was hung on the hook beside the door, he heaved a great sigh.

His wife, Katherine, turned briefly from stirring the pot of stew that was simmering over the hearth fire.

 

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“Welcome home, William,” she remarked with a speck of sarcasm.

William didn’t notice her tone, as he was too wrapped up in his own gloomy thoughts.

“What’s wrong, dear?” she asked, then returned to the task at hand: scraping the sides of the stew pot so no bits would be burnt and wasted.

William wearily sat down at the rough-hewn table and began working off his heavy boots.

“I’m so tired, Katherine—tired of working with dreary, dusty clay all day, tired of making the same plain, serviceable containers—jug after ordinary jug. Pot after ordinary pot. Hour after agonizing hour.”

 

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One boot landed with a thump on the pine floor.

“So make something fanciful every now and then,” Katherine countered.

“But it’s the everyday pots, jugs and bowls that people buy.”

The second boot clumped beside the first.

“Oh, William, I am sorry. You must remember that your work is important. Without your pottery, how would the village store their water and grain, plant their herbs and flowers, or…serve their supper?” And Katherine placed in front of him one of his clay bowls, filled with savory stew.

“M-m-m,” responded William. “In my mind I know you are right, but my heart is no longer in it.”

The next day toward sundown, William again entered the cottage and shut the door with extra force. But this time, he didn’t even take off his coat and scarf before grabbing Katherine around the waist and swinging her in a tight circle, careful to avoid the table and fire.

“Katherine! Katherine!” he bellowed. “Such good news I have to tell you!”

She pushed against his shoulders. “William! For goodness’ sake, put me down! Whatever has gotten into you?”

“Oh, my dear, you will never guess my good fortune.  Sit down while I tell you!”

Katherine wiped her hands on her apron before smoothing her skirts and taking a chair. Then clasping her hands as if to pray, Katherine sat ready to hear about this turn of events.

William drew a big breath and began.

“This afternoon I received a visitor at the shop—a visitor from the castle. The castle, I tell you! He says the king desires a new border for his gardens, a border of boxwoods in large pots. He’ll need dozens of pots, and he’s asked me to help!  Isn’t that wondrous news?”  And William looked to Katherine expectantly for her enthusiastic response.

 

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Katherine paused for a moment before speaking. “Pots, you say.”

“Yes!” he replied.

“Like the pots you make for the village?” she inquired.

“The same! The king’s messenger even pointed to the ones lined up on the shelf and said they would do perfectly, except much larger, of course.  Oh, think of the honor this is, Katherine.

“Yes, dear. Quite an honor. It’s just that…well…i-it seems to me…” Katherine stammered. And finally she spoke the obvious. “You’ll still be making ordinary pots, am I correct?  Wasn’t it just yesterday you were bemoaning the very same task?”

“Ah, but starting tomorrow, I am working for the king,” William exclaimed. “These pots will be part of something glorious and enduring. And that changes everything!”

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

“Whatever you do,

work at it with all your heart,

as working for the Lord,

not for men…

It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

–Colossians 3:23-24

 

(Photo credits:  www.goodlifelist.com; http://www.arteast.org; http://www.bloomiq.com.)

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