The Fly and the Bee

A little parable that I believe all of us in general and especially in the “blogosphere” should dwell upon.

A few people came to an elder and said, “Such and such a priest charges a lot of money for a sacrament, such and such smokes a lot and goes to the coffee bar, another is amoral (and then present evidence.)”

The elder then says to them, “I have realized from experience that in this life people are separated into two categories. A third category does not exist: you will either be in one or in the other.

Thus, one category of people are like a fly. The fly has the following particularities: it flies everywhere and lands on everything that is dirty. For example, if there are many fragrant flowers in a lawn while in the corner some animal has defecated, the fly, flying over the beautiful yard, passes over the flowers and does not land on one. Only when he sees the excrement does he immediately descend, sits on it and begins to dig into it, delighting in the stench that begins with his digging, and he is not able to tear himself away.

The other category of people are like a bee. The particularity of the bee is that it finds that which is beautiful and sweet and alights on it. Picture that in in a building full of excrement someone put a lucuma in the corner. If you brought a fly to that building it would fly around, not landing anywhere, until it found the lucuma.

Well then, imagine two people who belong to those two categories walking down the street. And they come upon a place where some other person has “taken care of their needs.” How does the person from the first category act? He takes a stick and begins to pick at the excrement. And what does the person from the second category do? He tries to cover up the excrement with dirt so that other passersby would not smell the stench coming from the filth…”

From the book “From the Life of the Elders (Wisdom of the Righteous) or Soul-profitable Reading” Source

Update: I found out that this is a variation on a saying of Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos such as can be found here. If his is the original I have not been able to find out.

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