The Parable of the Long Spoons
A man once asked a heavenly messenger to explain why some people are happy and some are miserable. The angel led the man to a large building that had two doors.
“Open the first door and you will see misery,” said the angel.
As the man opened the first door he saw many people sitting around a large round table. In the middle of the table was a steaming pot of stew that looked and smelled delicious. Each person at the table had a spoon attached to their hand. The spoon had a long handle that allowed them to reach the pot in the center of the table. But once they dipped their spoon into the stew, the handle was too long to get the spoon into their mouths. Everyone was miserable, sickly and starving.
“Now open the second door,” said the angel, “ and you will see happiness.”
As the man opened the second door he was surprised to discover that the second room looked the same as the first. People sat around a large round table with a pot of delicious stew in the center. The people also held long-handled spoons, but these people looked happy and well-fed.”
“I don’t understand,” said the man.
“Watch carefully,” said the angel.
As the man watched he noticed the people in the second room dipping their spoons into the pot and then using the long handle to feed the stew to the person sitting across the table from them.
“Do you now understand why some people are happy and some are miserable? Asked the angel.
“Happy people forget themselves and serve others,” said the man.
“Yes,”smiled the angel, “and by serving others, they too are fed.”