The squalling winds had settled down to a stiff breeze as the young boy alternately sauntered and skipped across the beach. Suddenly, a strangely shaped object whitened by the action of the elements attracted his attention. As thick as a man’s leg at one end, curved and tapering out almost to a point at the other, it came almost to his shoulder.
Laying it out in front of him with the care of newly born wonder, he picked up a nearby rock and started to pound it to see what it was made from. After fifteen minutes of profuse sweating and little headway its hardness defeated his efforts.
With a gleam of joy in his eyes he came to a definite decision. Picking it up and dragging it through the sand, he hauled it slowly up the rise to his home a few hundred metres away.
There, his father and elder brother were halfway through the building of a new brick fence to replace the wooden one that had been flattened by the worst storm in recent memory. Seeing his young son puffing and dragging a huge curved thing across the grass he cried,
“What do you have there?”
“I don’t know Dad, I found it on the beach. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Taking it in his hands and examining it from different angles his father stated simply,
“It’s part of the backbone of a whale. It must have been washed up on the beach during the storm. Why did you bring it here?
With innocent pride the boy announced his excellent idea,
“I thought you could use it in the fence. It’s so strong.”
“No doubt about its strength, son. Many fishing boats have felt the power behind a whale’s swishing tail. But it would be out of place in the fence. It just wouldn’t fit in with the bricks and mortar. Instead of helping it would probably make the structure weaker.”
Uncomprehending and with a forlorn cast of his head he turned to lug it back to the beach.
“Then you can’t use it?”
“No, son. In spite of its strength, it can only have curiosity value.”
Things really only have power and strength when used in their right context. If I have all the patience in the world, yet the situation requires determined action, my internal structure is weakened and therefore any protection it could have afforded me is lessened.
If I have unabated enthusiasm to act yet the circumstances necessitate perseverance, I’ll not be able to withstand the pressures they bring.
Meditation helps me to accumulate spiritual powers and virtues so that they are at my disposal when and where I choose to use them.
Short story from the book,"Reflexões para uma vida plena" by Ken O'Donnell , Editora Integrare, São Paulo (link)