short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Complaining Servant

In the days when servants were bought and sold, there once was a servant who had a very kind master. The master would not eat unless his servant sat and ate with him. When he wanted to rest, he would ask his servant to sit and talk to him. If the servant had nothing to say, the master would share his latest jokes and fill the air with the joyful sound of his laughter. When he purchased a new robe or a turban, he always purchased one just like it for his servant. When he asked his servant to carry a heavy object, he helped him carry it. When he asked him to cook for many people, he would take charge of the most difficult task: finding enough logs for the fire.

Nonetheless, the servant was always complaining. "I am so tired of this master," he could be heard repeating. "Sit with me and eat, sit with me and talk … do this and do that … what makes him so sure I want to sit with him? What makes him so confident that I enjoy his company?"

One day the master overheard his servant speak like this and was very hurt, and so he decided he would return him to the servants' market. There the servant was bought by another master. This new master was very different from the previous one. He would never eat with his servants. After he finished eating, the servants ate the leftovers. When his robes and turbans became old and faded, he would give them to his servants to wear. And when he asked his servants to carryout difficult tasks, it was unthinkable for him to help.

With this master, the servant complained day and night. "Eat his leftovers!! Wear his used clothes!! Who does he think he is, the Sultan himself?"

And so the master heard of the complaints of the servant and, once again, the servant found himself in the servants' market. This time, he was purchased by a master who appeared like he never smiled in his life. Not only did this master not feed his servants, not even leftovers, but he didn’t provide shelter, either.

A night arrived when the servant stood under the pouring rain, tired, hungry and cold. Suddenly, a man approached him.

"May I be of help in any way?"

The servant looked up and could not believe his eyes. It was his first master who had treated him so kindly.

"Please take me back, Master. I promise I will never take your special treatment for granted again."

And so the master purchased him again. And whenever he wanted to rest, he would ask his servant to sit with him, drink coffee drenched with cardamom, and listen to his latest jokes.

The above story is excerpted from a book, Metaphors of Islamic Humanism, by my dear friend, Dr. Omar Imady, copyright 2005.


  1. A lesson in contentment, if ever ther was one...

  2. Hi Elizabeth .. certainly think before you leap! Think before you complain .. things are a lot worse elsewhere ..

    Thanks - love the metaphorical story .. Hilary

  3. Indeed, Hilary. Glad you liked the story; I like all of Omar's stories.


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.