“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7 ESV)
There is a wonderful old story about a monastery that was built on an island out in the middle of a lake. Now this island had no source of fresh water so all the water the monks used had to be rowed across the lake to the island in boats and dumped into a huge barrel. Each day the monks would come to get a drink of this precious water that they couldn’t afford to waste after working all day in the fields around the monastery.
One day a monk opened the lid to the water barrel and saw an ant swimming in the water. He grew angry and said, “How dare you be in my water!” Then he squished the ant. Later another monk came to the barrel and saw yet another ant swimming in the water. “Well”, he said, “This is the coolest place on the island and you aren’t hurting my water.” Then he scooped around the ant and drank.
Finally, another monk came to the barrel after a long day of working in the hot sun. He opened the barrel and saw the ant still sitting there. He smiled, reached into his robe, pulled out a lump of sugar, and fed the ant.
In this life we all have our share of ants be they people, problems, or pains. But how we deal with them is up to us. We can react in anger like the first monk and try to squash them. We can react calmly like the second monk and work around them. Or we can react lovingly like the third monk did. The first way will fill our hearts with bitterness and hatred. The second way will fill our hearts with peace and detachment. But the third way will fill our hearts with Love and Joy. The choice is ours to make.
Don’t let the ants in this life upset you then. Choose the way of Love. Choose the way of Goodness. Choose the way of God. Then your face will be full of Light. Your heart will be full of Heaven. And your life will be full of Joy.
Joseph J. Mazzella