[Original Source:East And West Series; Vol 44 No.7 (July, 2002) page23]

A woman was pouring out her troubles in an endless stream of moans and whines, when a social worker picked a small pebble and held it up to her.

In the brief silence that follows, the social worker said: “Look at this pebble, see how tiny it is.”

Then he held it right in front of the woman’s eye and said: “Now the pebble fills your vision and blocks the entire world.” Finally, he threw the pebble on the ground and asked the woman to stamp on it. It was crushed into powder.

There was no need to explain further. The wailing woman understood that troubles were like pebbles. Looked at objectively, they are challenges we can meet and conquer; but out of perspective they assume gigantic proportions that cause us to fret and fear.

A hasty remark, a look of arrogance, an unkind word and our day is ruined.

Let us remember the pebble when trouble looms large and remind ourselves that many of the troubles we feared most never even turned up.

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