The Magic Mustard Seed
Written by Eugene Loh (Origin of story unknown)

If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you would know that the emotional pain involved is one of the hardest to bear. It is critical for us to learn how to deal with the sorrow of a loved one’s passing, because every one of us is bound to experience it at some point in our lives. 

There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to a holy man and said, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?" Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." 

The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, "I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me." They told her, "You've certainly come to the wrong place," and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them. The woman said to herself, "Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who has had misfortune of my own?" She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. 

She became so involved in ministering to other people's grief that ultimately she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life. 

When we’re reeling from the shock of losing a loved one, we invariably dwell on the loss we have to grapple with. The focus is what we’ve lost. What we’ll never be able to see again. This inevitably makes us feel even sorrier for ourselves. This forces the grief to concentrate and possibly bury us. 

In order to help the sorrow dissipate, consider helping others. They might be trying to get over a similar loss. They might be poor, old or destitute. Or they might be physically or mentally challenged. Charity heals the soul, and it will quite possibly also help ease your sorrow. 

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