This story has changed my life. Get ready, it is an eastern story, and it’s not like it has a punchline. I think I heard if first when I was living in Hong Kong. A man is being chased by a tiger. He gets to a cliff, and the tiger is behind him. He sees a rope hanging down from the cliff. He climbs down the rope until he gets to the end of it. He looks down below, and there are jagged rocks. The tiger is standing above him on the cliff, looking down at him. As he is hanging there, he notices that just above his reach is a tiny mouse, eating it’s way through the rope. At that moment, he notices some wild strawberries growing on the side of the cliff. He reaches out with one hand and takes some, and eats them. He says, “These strawberries are delicious.”
That is the end of the story. As you think about it, though, isn’t that always our situation? There is always a tiger behind us. There are always sharp rocks in front of us. And there is always a tiny mouse with us, gnawing away at the shredded rope of our life. The art of life is being able to taste the strawberries in the midst of all of that.
David in the Bible got it, I think. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies,” was the way we had to memorize it. I love to think of David enjoying his feast when all his enemies are right there, standing around at the same time. That is the human condition.
In our family, when things are very difficult, we sometimes say this phrase to each other as a code–“These strawberries are delicious.”
The next blog I will tell you about a masterful writer who was able to expand on this approach with a single sentence. In the meantime, I am in the mountains, and I am taking a moment to drink a cup of Sumatra French Roast coffee, and say, “These strawberries are delicious.”
The Upside Down Leader
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