Here’s my first attempt at telling a parable.
Once upon a time, a teetering, bushy gray-bearded man started toward the market. Hobbling along he realized something wasn’t right. The spring air felt right but it didn’t smell right. It smelled sour. He paused, shrugged, and then dutifully trudged along.
He happened upon a purple lilac bush in full bloom. He thought, “This sweet lilac will help me escape the sour.” So he stopped and inhaled deeply. In horror he jerked away. It reeked! And the deeper he inhaled the more disgusting it smelled. Having found no relief, he dejectedly shuffled along.
A whistling stranger passed the teetering, confused, gray-bearded man. “How anyone can whistle in this sour air is beyond me?” he thought. Further along, a fellow townsman waved, calling “Good day,” to the gray-bearded man. He stopped and in frustration called back, “Do you smell that?” The townsman joyfully called back, “Yes, isn’t the spring air lovely!” “Humph” the confused gray-beard said as he tottered toward the market.
It was the same everywhere he went. Finally, produce in hand, the frustrated, confused, dreary, gray-beard turned toward home. Dejected, he thought to himself, “The whole world stinks.”
The sun slipped below the horizon while he sadly sat in a sour filled room. Discouraged and confused, the bushy gray-beard hoped for the relief of sleep. While washing his face, rancid white bits of cottage cheese fell from under his mustache. They’d clung there since dinner the night before.
Straightening himself and inhaling deeply, spring fragrances danced in his nose. Suddenly, the world didn’t stink anymore.
The moral of the story is: If the whole world stinks, maybe the problem isn’t the world. Maybe it’s you.
The good news: If you are the problem, then you are the solution.