The Three Sisters

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A long time ago in a distant land lived a family of three sisters.

The first sister was sad. Everything from her nose to her chin and from her skin to her toes seemed not quite good enough to her. When she spoke, her words sometimes came out awkwardly, and people laughed. When someone criticized her or “forgot” to invite her to something, she would blush, walk away, and find a secret spot where she would let out a sad sigh and wonder why life had turned out to be so bleak and cheerless.

The second sister was mad. She thought of herself as very smart, but there was always someone else who scored higher on tests at school. She considered herself funny, fair, fashionable, and fascinating. But always, there seemed to be someone who was funnier, fairer, more fashionable, or more fascinating.

She was never first at anything, and this she could not endure. Life was not supposed to be this way!

Sometimes she lashed out at others, and it seemed that she was always one breath away from being outraged by one thing or another.

Of course, this did not make her any more likable or popular. Sometimes she clenched her teeth, tightened her fists, and thought, “Life is so unfair!”

Then there was the third sister. Unlike her sad and mad sisters, she was—well, glad. And it wasn’t because she was smarter or more beautiful or more capable than her sisters. No, people sometimes avoided or ignored her too. They sometimes made fun of what she was wearing or the things she was saying. They sometimes said mean things about her. But she did not allow any of that to bother her too much.

This sister loved to sing. She didn’t have great pitch, and people laughed about it, but that didn’t stop her. She would say, “I am not going to let other people and their opinions stop me from singing!”

The very fact that she kept singing made her first sister sad and her second sister mad.

Many years passed, and eventually each sister reached the end of her time on earth.

The first sister, who discovered again and again that there was no shortage of disappointments in life, eventually died sad.

The second, who every day found something new to dislike, died mad.

And the third sister, who spent her life singing her song with all her might and a confident smile on her face, died glad.

Of course, life is never so simple, and people are never so one-dimensional as the three sisters in this story. But even extreme examples like these can teach us something about ourselves. If you are like most of us, you may have recognized part of yourself in one, two, or perhaps all three of these sisters.

There may be many things about life that are beyond your control. But in the end, you have the power to choose to be sad, mad or glad.