I am currently reading a very interesting book “Cutting for Stone“. (Thanks for the book, Claudia!) I have not finished the book but it has presented many situations that have touched a note with Me.

One of the main characters in the book, Ghosh, is in prison in Africa and describes a well known children’s tale He hears from a cellmate. It goes something like this;

Kassem was a miserly Baghdad merchant who possessed a much repaired pair of slippers that He refused to dispose of. One day, He could no longer tolerate the slippers and attempted to get rid of them. Each effort to dispose of the slippers turned to disaster. For example, He threw them out of a window and they hit a pregnant woman in the head who had a miscarriage. As a result, He was sent to jail. He later dropped them in a canal and they plugged a drain and flooded the town and Kassem went back to jail…..

Another cellmate responds to the story telling Ghosh that Kassem my as well build a special room for his slippers as He will never escape from them.

Ghosh, later in life, explains the story of Kassem to his Son and states that the key to happiness is to” own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you do not possess. If you keep saying the slippers are not yours, then you will die searching, you will die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions but our omissions become our destiny”.

I believe that I have spent an inordinate time throughout my life trying to get rid of my slippers. It is now time to own my slippers, and to stop searching for a better pair!

Ken Flaska

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