My tea story today is about the reincarnation of a lobster.
Before this spirit is reincarnated back on Earth, he asks God for a favor.
“God, is it possible to put in a request for what I’d like to be in my next life?”
“Sure, what would you like to be?” God answers.
The spirit lights up. “I’d like to be a scorpion.”
God smiles. “Why do you want to be a scorpion?”
“I like its powerful claws. I like its venomous tail. I like its resilience and warrior spirit. Oh, and I like how it’s also featured in the stars. It’s so mysterious and powerful in a subtle way. And people are scared of scorpions! I think I will have so much fun being a scorpion.”
“Okay.” God replies gently again with a smile. “I promise that you will have a great life.”
The spirit is content and thanks God for the kindness shown.
The spirit is then escorted to the entrance of the Tunnel of White Light by the angels. And once the spirit enters the tunnel, it goes into a trance and loses all of its previous life memories.
But somehow, the memory of its conversation with God is not erased.
He opens his eyes for the first time in his present life.
Oh, It’s dark. Am I floating in water?
He finds his claws paddling and his body flowing with the water’s current. He looks at his blue claws. Oh yes, they look strong and powerful like they can crush anything.
He takes a look at his tail.
Wait a minute.
His tail is like a shape of a butterfly.
Where’s my venomous tail? And why am I in the water? And why is the water salty?
He realizes that he is living under the sea.
Am I a…blue lobster?
He curls up so he can take a good look of his entire body.
“God, you must be joking! Is this a dream? Is this some sort of prank? Why am I not a scorpion? Instead why am I this ugly looking stupid lobster? “
The lobster cries and sinks into a deep depression. He doesn’t understand why God has not kept the promise.
Just let me starve and die here then, so I can go back to God again.
For ten days, the lobster stays in his cave. He is too depressed to even think about eating anything.
He sobs and sobs. He doesn’t know whether his tears or the seawater are saltier.
On the eleventh day, a typhoon hits the ocean and the undersea world has become a swirling chaos.
The lobster doesn’t notice anything as he’s so deep in his thoughts. Suddenly he feels a tug on his antenna.
“Ummm…excuse me? Sorry to bother you.” A tiny little voice coming out from a tiny creature.
Who on Earth is disturbing me? The lobster frowns and opens his eyes.
Is that a…shrimp?
“Can I stay here with you until the typhoon is gone? I lost my family and I don’t know which way to go yet.” The tiny shrimp sighs.
“Uhmmm…” the lobster is at a loss of words. He really wants to say no.
Hello, I’m trying to die here, can’t you see? is really what he wants to say.
But on second thought, why not? He’s dying anyway and maybe he can do something nice for others for once.
“Okay…” the lobster says hesitantly.
“Thank you!” The tiny shrimp squeals with excitement and its eyes sparkle. The lobster can feel a huge wave of gratitude coming from this tiny creature. He’s amazed. How can the shrimp be grateful despite having lost everything in this typhoon?
“Can I ask you something?” the lobster is curious, “This probably sounds stupid and it probably is. And you don’t need to answer if you don’t want to. How can you still be grateful for life when you have lost your family and your way?”
The tiny shrimp turns its head to the left and is listening attentively to the question. And then it closes its eyes.
Uh oh, this is awkward now. I shouldn’t have asked.
The lobster is so embarrassed of his question as silence echoes in the cave.
Just before the lobster opens his mouth to attempt to fill in the silence, the tiny shrimp opens its eyes. This time, the lobster feels that the entire being of this gentle shrimp is sparkling with gratitude.
“I am grateful because I’ve met you. I swam to many different caves to seek for shelter, and every sea creature either said no or wanted to eat me. I probably would have lost all hope if I hadn’t met you in this cave.
You give me a sense of hope. Amidst this chaos, you still provide me shelter and allow me to stay here with you even though we don’t know each other.
You are truly kind to me. You show me that kindness can be found when we look, even though the undersea world seems chaotic and scary at times.”
The lobster cannot stop himself from tearing up after hearing what profound wisdom this tiny shrimp has shared.
“I’m sorry…” the tiny shrimp lowers its voice. “I must have said something that upset you.”
“No you didn’t.” the lobster smiles for the first time in his life.
Now he understands why God has given him this life – the life of a lobster.
God only promised that he would have a great life. God never said anything about being a scorpion.
And he doesn’t know what adventure he may encounter as a scorpion. He would never know.
But now, as a lobster, he knows exactly why he is here at this cave, at this moment in time. If he hadn’t been here, he probably wouldn’t have met the kindest, tiniest shrimp of the whole ocean.
It doesn’t matter anymore if he is a scorpion or not. It doesn’t matter if he’s a mysterious and powerful warrior, nor does it matter if he has a venomous tail or a butterfly-shaped one.
He doesn’t know why yet, but he’s pretty sure that this tiny shrimp and he are meant to meet under such circumstances. And he has so much to learn from this tiny shrimp.
The lobster wipes away his tears. “I’m sorry. I’m just so touched by your words and your wisdom. I forgot to ask you your name. What is your name, my friend?”
“Joy. My name is Joy.” She extends her shrimp legs to greet the lobster. “And you?”
The lobster swims over and gives her a big hug.
“Flow. My name is Flow.”