Thought For Today: Jenny Jeffery
We are all struggling in one way or another in these ever-changing strange times. Recently I have spoken to folk who are all feeling marginalised and struggling particularly with their own self worth. An elderly person who has no access to technology, a man who has lost his job, someone feeling guilty about having to remain in lockdown instead of being a part of his working environment, a person living on their own feeling very isolated and even a year 5 ten year old not able to be at school, and feeling that the school energies were now directed towards those able to attend school, rather than those still expected to do learning at home. Mental health issues of feeling like the “under dog”
Besides words of reassurance and encouragement from scripture I have found the following story to have a helpful message.
There was once a gardener who was very proud of his beautiful garden. He cared for it everyday with great tenderness. Every day, at the far end of the garden he would fill up his buckets with water and carry them back along the path to the flower beds.
To water his flowers he used two buckets. One was a bright shiny new bucket, and one was a very old and rather dilapidated bucket which had seen long years of service in the garden but was now well past its best.
The bright shiny bucket was proud of itself . It could be relied upon to carry the full assignment of water right up to the flower beds without spilling a single drop.
The shabby old bucket felt very different and ashamed in comparison. It knew it had holes in it, and every morning it was so sad to see that by the time the gardener reached the flower beds, a good deal of water had already spilled out along the path and was wasted.
Sometimes the buckets would talk to each other, as they were carried along the path.
“See how efficient I am” the shiny bucket would boast, “How good that the gardener has me! I don’t know why he still bothers with you!”
And all that the shabby bucket would say was “I know I’m not much good, I can’t do what you do, but I try to be happy and do the best I can. I’m happy that the gardener still finds a little use for me at least”
One day the gardener heard this sort of conversation. When he got to the flower beds he did the watering as usual, using the full bucket of water from the shiny bucket and the half bucket of water that was left in the old, leaky bucket.
Then he picked up both buckets now empty and said “Thank you both! You have done your day’s work very well. Now I am going to carry you back to the shed, but as we go I want you to look carefully at the pathway”
So the two buckets did as the gardener had asked them. And they noticed that all along the path on one side – the side where the gardener carried the shiny new bucket – there was just bare earth. But on the other side – the side where the gardener carried the leaky old bucket – there was a row of young, fresh, green shoots, which in another few weeks, would be a joyous row of colourful wild flowers leading all the way to the garden.
Words from Isaiah Chapter 49: The Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on the afflicted ones…..I will not forget you, says the Lord. See I have engraved you on the palm of my handsl