The World Needs Stone Soup


Stone Soup Is Needed

Overwhelm. Despair. Hopelessness. Fatigue. What’s the use? I give up.

Yep, been there, felt that. Still do. And it is no way to live.

Stand back, I’ll take care of it. I don’t need any help. To ask for help is a sign of failure. I am woman, hear me roar.

Been there too and I do not want to live there. The path of isolation leads to self-destruction.

Interdependence. Not dependence, I am not helpless. Interdependence. I am capable and gifted. You are capable and gifted. You have skills I don’t have. You can benefit from my knowledge and abilities and I can benefit from yours.

The story of Stone Soup teaches us that by adding our little bit, we can make a greater whole.

An old woman is so poor, she has nothing to cook. Knowing that she will need to eat, she has is a big pot of water on a fire. “All I have to add to the water is this stone from outside my door. It is a beautiful stone, with the wisdom of Mother Earth. Perhaps if I make a soup using the stone, I will be given the wisdom of the earth.

She adds the stone to the water and stirs. In a little while, a young woman walks up to her. “I smelled the smoke from your fire. I am so tired and hungry. May I ask for a sip of your soup?” The woman replied, “All I have is in that soup. If you have anything to add, I will be happy to share it.” All the girl had was a shriveled onion, but she gladly added it to the soup pot. They sat and after a while, an old man approaches. “I saw the smoke, I smelled the cooking. I am so tired and hungry. May I have but a taste of your soup?”

“All we have is in this soup. If you have something to add, we will gladly share it. The old man replied, I have but one potato. I was saving it, but I will gladly add it to the soup.”

Time passed, and a mother and son approached with the same tale of woe. When invited to add to the soup, the boy had half a carrot and the woman a turnip. They added them to the pot and sat with the others. More people came by and each contributed what they had to the soup- a bit of cabbage, a few dried herbs, a parsnip, garlic, a bit of dried meat, mushrooms, a yam. One traveler had nothing to add to the soup but offered to sing and tell stories while they waited for the soup to cook.

By giving what each had, a hearty soup was made and shared. Each met new people, learned about each other, even finding common bonds in their differences. They made friends and formed bonds. They laughed and sang along with the performer for the gift of his laughter and entertainment warmed them while they waited and fed their hearts and minds. By sharing what each had, all were nourished.

No matter how little you think you have, no matter how small and insignificant your offering, when brought to the group, it adds what only you can give. Your gifts are unique. We need them. You do not have to do it all. Only your part. And when we each do our part, we are all richer for it.

Imagine a world where each person brings and freely gives what they have to offer. It is easy for me to XYZ. How can that help? Perhaps you cannot XYZ, but you can PQR. And so it goes, you do what you can and if enough of us come together, it all gets done. It gets done well and beautifully and with grace.

We don’t have to do everything. Just our part. But we each must show up and be willing to do our part. Are you ready? Are you willing? The world needs all of us.

Chicken soup may cure colds, but stone soup will heal the world.


2 thoughts on “The World Needs Stone Soup

  1. Luanne Brown

    Karen, this is beautiful. In a sense, it’s appropo of what we are doing with our Refugee Rag Rug project. Someone brings the fabric, someone else rips it into ‘yarn’ and still others make, finish, tag and deliver to the International Refugee Committee who place it in the homes of Refugee families new to our area. It’s a great metaphor for life—and, I might add—it’s a story my Dad used to tell frequently when he made stone soup so it’s a tale that is very dear to my heart. Thank you for writing this!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>