I have my brother Ted to thank for the Fable of the Porcupine:
It was the coldest winter in anyone’s memory, and one animal after another perished in the icy weather. The porcupines saw this and decided the only way they would survive is if they grouped together to share their warmth. Only trouble was, the quills of one porcupine wounded the one next to it, and that one hurt the one next to it, and so on and so on. They stayed warm, all right, but the pain they suffered was just too great. After awhile they edged away to shiver alone. But one by one, they froze to death.
Even porcupines could see that was never going to do. The only way to keep from disappearing from the earth was to move back together and put up with their neighbors’ painful quills. And that’s what they did.
So the porcupines learned to live with the little wounds caused by close relationships between companions. Even more important, they learned the gift of lifegiving heat that comes from being together.
The moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.
Thanks, Ted. You’d make a good porcupine!
“What I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?”
Anais Nin, writer