A Word of Encouragement


mouse

 A Word of Encouragement

This post is dedicated to my friend, Phoenix, at Res Ipsa Loquitur .

I don’t recall where I heard this story, but I believe it is an ancient tale. It goes something like this:

There were two dairy farm mice that climbed to the rim of a giant vat of milk. As they were trying to figure out how to get to the milk, they slipped and fell into the vat. Now, the sides were slippery, so it was impossible to climb out. They had no choice but to swim.

And swim they did! They swam around and around for hours on end trying to come up with a plan. 

After reaching the point of no return, one of the mice gave up. He said to his friend, “It’s no use. We cannot escape. We have no chance. I give up.” 

He did give up, and he drowned.

The second mouse was equally exhausted. He swam for a few more hours, and he also realized the futility of his efforts. After all, there was no hope in sight. This mouse, however, said to himself, “I never give up. No matter the odds and no matter the hopelessness of the situation, I refuse to give in. That’s what makes me who I am.”

Even realizing he would eventually succumb to his fate as his friend did, he continued to swim around and around in that vat. What he did not anticipate was the affect his courage would have on his situation. 

After several more hours swimming around and around, the milk hardened, turned into cheese, and he hopped out of the vat.

I am pretty sure that in life, we only drown when we surrender.

Comments

  1. Oh this is priceless, and great food for thought! ...and something we should carry with us every single day of our life! Thanks for sharing this JJ...great stuff!

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  2. Karen S: Thank you. We can all use encouragement.

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  3. Oh, and if the first mouse hadn't given up there would have been 2 swimmers and they would make cheese faster. Thanks for the encouragement. Two mice are better than none.
    Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

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  4. Manzi: Yes. Excellent twist!

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  5. I clicked over from Phoenix's blog, which I found via another blog, and found both of you SO inspiring. I'm a children's book author -- and I'm waiting for that book deal. I have an agent but it's still frustrating just waiting and waiting. Here's another story for you that I read when I was single and feeling like I'd never find love. It's always inspired me:

    Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

    The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

    One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

    The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

    At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

    The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

    As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

    But neither happened!

    The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

    It never was able to fly…

    As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

    As you go through life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

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  6. I would kill myself trying! Cute story.~Ames

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  7. Typically, you can see where a little parable like this is going. I did not see the cheese coming.

    I love the cheese. :)

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  8. Stephanie: Thank you for a great story!

    Ames: I bet you would make cheese.

    Suze: I agree. Thanks.

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  9. Absolutely love the cheese story! Totally believe in 'never quit' and 'never give up'. Sometimes easier said than done, but always worth doing.
    A great and funny friend once told me- Excuses are like armpits, everybody has 'em and they all stink!
    Thanks for sharing some more of your wealth of knowledge.

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  10. YRJ: It is a nice story, with a great deal of meaning.

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  11. Thank you, JJ - this brought a smile to my face. Thank you for the post of encouragement and I'll try to remember that my reward for struggling so hard is cheese - DEFINITELY worth fighting (and swimming) for! ::Hugs and thanks again::

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  12. Phoenix: My pleasure. Even tough guys and gals need encouragement occasionally.

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  13. A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. KB: Thank you for your comments. I am happy you enjoyed it.

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  15. Great stories that teach valuable lessons are always great..which of course your tale is, as is Stephanie Faris's story.

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  16. Kath: I LOVE her story. I have never heard it before.

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  17. Hi JJ, my first visit to your blog and this is a fascinating post to start with!! So inspirational and motivational indeed...
    I remember the quote "Winners fight for that one extra second when the everybody else give up"
    Have a great month:)

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  18. Arti: Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for your inspirational words.

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  19. Adorable story, and God bless your friend. Whatever they are going through, it helps to have good friends, I'm sure he appreciates you, I know I do. Have a great weekend :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  20. Miriam: Thank you. BTW, when do you anticipate that Meatless Meals will be out? I am anxious to get a copy. Your recipes are soooo good!

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  21. Thank you for posting that for her. She is a fighter. She just needs reminding sometimes.

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  22. Ms. Robin: I only blog with fighters.

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