The Thief of Joy
The stork was perched on a church spire watching an Easter procession pass by below. The sunshine was warm, the air carried the smell of incense and every now and then the ground shook with the pounding of drums and the sounds of trumpets wailed upwards towards the blue sky.
The stork sat meditating, accommodating all the noise until it was interrupted by a seagull landing on the other spire of the church. They both stood looking at each other for a moment. The seagull looked envious.
“Are you ok?” inquired the stork.
“Not really.” replied the seagull.
“What’s the matter?”
“I am unhappy with the way I am.”
“Nonsense.” said the stork. “What do you mean?”
“Well, look at your wings for a start. They are bigger than mine and so much more elegant when you stretch them out wide.”
“You should be glad you have wings at all!” exclaimed the stork.
“Also your legs are longer.” the seagull continued. “It must be so much better being taller than other birds.”
“Yes, but sometimes my legs are awkward and a burden. Sometimes I wish they were shorter so I could get into smaller spaces, but I don’t let it bother me.”
The seagull ignored him and carried on talking.
“Another thing is the homes you build. They are so much grander than mine.”
“Yes but they are precarious and often blow about in the wind.” replied the stork beginning to tire of the seagull. “I’d love to have a smaller home like yours but I am happy with what Ive got.”
The seagull fell silent.
“It seems to me we have the same things.” said the stork. “The reason you are envious, or unhappy as you say, is because you are comparing us. Comparison is the thief of joy.” the stork said boldly. “By comparing your life with me or other birds you become less happy. You must stop wishing you had my wings, or my house and start being happy with what you have.”
With that thought in mind the seagull felt much lighter inside. It smiled at the stork and acknowledged its words. The seagull flew off over the streets, over the golden trail of the Easter procession and feeling grateful for all it had, travelled homewards to the sparkling blue seas of Cádiz bay.