There is a story that goes like this:

Once upon a time there were 5 Chinese brothers. Each one was born with a special gift. Brother #1 was born with legs that could stretch forever. Brother #2 was born with an iron neck. Brother #3 was born with the ability to hold any amount of water, no matter how large, in his mouth. Brother #4 was born with the ability to hold his breath as long as he wanted to. And Brother #5 was born was born with the ability to stretch his neck.

One day a young boy ran to the brothers’ home crying. He was hungry, and could not catch any fish. The third Brother volunteered to help him, and offered his special ability as a means of doing so. He swallowed the sea, all of the water in it, and stood as the boy rushed along the ocean floor collecting fish. Finally  the boy had filled his net, but still he continued to grab for more. The Brother who held the sea in his mouth signaled to the boy that he was growing tired, but the boy laughed and ignored him. Twice more the Brother waved his hands, until at last he could not hold the sea a moment longer. He let go of the sea, killing the boy, and watched as the water rushed back into its home.

When the police found out what happened, they decided to kill the Brother. “We will hang him,” they said. The third Brother begged to tell his family goodbye first, and hurried home. Brother #5 returned in his place, and when they strung him up, he simply stretched his neck a bit and hung there, just as comfortable as could be. “We can’t kill him like this, so let’s chop his head off.” “Just let me say goodbye to my family,” he pleaded. He went home, and Brother #2 went back in his place. The police tried in vain to cut his head off, but that iron neck held strong. Next, they thought to put him in a bag of cream and let him suffocate. But when he went home to see his family, Brother #4, the one who could hold his breath, took his place. They left him in there for 9 days, but he was still alive when they went back. So finally, they decided drowning him in the sea was their only option. Brother #1 took on the challenge, stretching his legs to the ocean floor to stand with his head high above the water.

In the end, they decided to leave him alone. All five brothers lived happily ever after.

Now—why did I tell you this? Because—we all need a backup plan when things come against us that we don’t expect.

I need a stand-in when I am angry with Brandon. I need a go-to guy. So maybe that was story was more of a way for me to preach myself into reconciliation mode, but hey, you learned something didn’t you? Regardless of who was right (me) or who was more in the wrong (also me)—the reaction should be the same every time. I should have a back-up plan ready to go. A calm, rational, patient and loving reaction.

Then nothing could kill our love. Nothing.

 Written to:  “(At Your Best) You Are Love by Aaliyah; “Don’t Take It Personal”  by Monica


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