Long Spoons

long spoons


Upon his death a man was given a tour of both heaven and hell, so he could select his final destination. First he was taken to hell. He saw a lot of people sitting at a long banquet table loaded with all kinds of delicious food. However, he noticed that all the people seated were unhappy, and looked frustrated. They each had a fork strapped to the left arm and a knife strapped to the right arm – they had no elbows. Each had a four-foot handle which made it impossible for them to eat. With all kinds of good in front of them they were not able to taste any of it. After this scene in hell he was taken on a tour of heaven. He noticed that the people in heaven were also seated at a long banquet table loaded with all kinds of delicious good. There was a difference here because he noticed that the people here were cheerful and enjoying themselves. They also had forks and knives with a four-foot handle – they had no elbows. They were busy eating because they were feeding each other. Each person in heaven was feeding the one across the table from him and was being fed in return. The people in hell were unable to eat because they were trying to feed only themselves.

This is one of my all time favorite stories.There are different versions of titled, “Long Spoons” which are so worth looking up; as many give greater, more elaborate details – making it even more profound and beautiful.


This story is about interdependence. Interdependence is defined as, “dependence between two or more people, groups, or things; mutually reliant on each other. In all aspects of life we experience interdependence – no man is an island (despite many who think they are). Being interdependent is obvious in our personal relationships and family lives.Yet, it’s interesting to reflect on interdependence in the work and business world; heck, even in the blogging world. In business we need people to buy our goods or services; help spread the word, promote us, pay us and so on. When we write, we want (we need) people to read and to interact with us. I think sometimes we feel alone on these different journeys. Maybe not the entire time, but perhaps just down different roads we turn before reaching yet another crossroad. Those are the times of great reflection and times when we need to reach out most. Having someone to relate to – to cheer us on – to go through the mud with makes all the difference. Often, it gives us the strength to be the hand, the shoulder or the rock for the next person at the crossroad of their journey. We learn that the journey never really ends; there’s no final destination, except perhaps at death and even then …


We’ll always have the need for others; others will always need us. I choose to live heaven on earth and feed others in any way I can; hopefully, in the most positive, productive and loving way I can. I am assured too that I will fall, I will fail and I will ask for forgiveness (forgiveness of others and myself).

Do you make the choice to “feed others” or “starve”?

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. Mother Teresa

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27 Responses to Long Spoons

  1. Pingback: Elena Patrice

  2. Hajra says:

    Hey Elena,

    This is the first time I heard this story. And I think there is a lot to be picked up from this. One very crucial thing that this story highlights is that; there are ways in which we can make our lives much more easier. One way is to reach out, to help and to seek help. There is a reason why the word social exists. And there is a reason why we are here. Though thinking about oneself is nice and worthy; we shouldn’t be shutting our eyes when it comes to other people.

    Do we really know our neighbors? Do we know what your friends are doing and not just by reading their Facebook updates? Do we know how much it hurts because we haven’t talked to our parents in a long time? These are just some questions we need to be asking ourselves.. time and again!

    Thanks for such a wonderful reminder. A business lesson and a life lesson… all beautifully told :)

    Diamond days definitely!
    Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a bloggers party?

    • Hello sweet friend!

      I was recently reminded of this story and it’s so beautiful. Wow! You have posed some very worthy questions to ask ourselves and reflect upon – thank you! You got me here … whew!

      Often we’re afraid to reach out or our ego steps in the way. Something I’ve had to learn, especially as a mother and in my current circumstances, is that it is OK and often times so necessary in order to be healthy, to reach out and ask for help. This has been an ongoing struggle for me (mainly ego driven), but humility is a great teacher. ;)

      I appreciate you always Hajra! I hope all is wonderful and well with you. Let me know!!

      Happiness & blue skies always,


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  4. A wonderful thought-provoking post Elena.

    It’s interesting (coincidental? not:) that in my most recent blog post, the letter “i”, someone submitted the word Independence. Dictionary definition: “The state or quality of being independent; freedom from dependence; exemption from reliance on, or control by, others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one’s own affairs without interference. Sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.”

    I responded that I like the idea of both Independence and Interdependence, depending upon the circumstances. I believe we need to determine when, and under what circumstances, independence and/or interdependence serve the greater good.

    Lovely, lyrical post with a great story I hadn’t heard before. I’m with you: I live heaven on earth each day:) Cheers! Kaarina
    Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..The “i”s have it, or Ironing Icicles in Iceland?

    • Hello Kaarina!

      First, I’ve subscribed to your updates and such on your site and am not receiving anything. :( I’ll subscribe again. Now … interesting your response to “independence” – love it! Now, I am going to show my ignorance here … I wasn’t familiar with the word “interdependence” until very recently. And as one who struggles with this, at first, it made me uncomfortable. So, why do I tell you that? Obviously I need you in my life … you teach me much! ;)

      Thank you for stopping by and the gift of your insight and comments Kaarina … as always, I’m so grateful!

      Cheers (I love when you write this!) indeed!


  5. Hi Elena,
    I like this story! Such a fine dividing line between heaven and hell! I, like you, like to think of a heaven on earth and shed light when and where I can! You do that with your very presence :-) We’re all doing it with our blogs! Hopefully!
    Love the title of this Elena!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..A Story of Faith and a Whole Lot of Family Fun

    • Hi Lori!!

      How right you are about the “fine dividing line” … makes us think deeper that’s no doubt! You, my friend, shed a ton of light (that’s why your blog is the bestest!! :))! I think those we are privilege to have found, read and share with others definitely do that indeed! What a gift!

      With a full heart thank you for stoppig by, commenting and your always kind words!

      Wishing you a heavenly day!


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  9. Hi Elena,

    I recently told that story to my kids and told them that they are obligated to feed each other and others.

    I am not sure if they really got the message, but I am working on it. It really is a wonderful story and something that is important.
    Jack@TheJackB recently posted..I Told You She Is A Bitch

    • Somehow I knew that of all people, you’d be familiar with this Jack! How wonderful that you shared this with your kids already! It’s all about planting the seeds and one day they’ll share this with others while living the lesson (just like their dad does now).

      Thanks for reading and commenting Jack, it’s means a lot!

      Have a wonderful day!


  10. Barbara says:

    Cara Elena,

    Lovely post, and I think you know my answer. Yes for feeding others, and I am convinced it will come back threefold. But it is unconditional and it is the way I chose!

    And like Jack said in his post: rather fall and fail, not fail and fall!

    And planting the seed is all we can do but I do not doubt the outcome, I see it in my daughter every day.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, cara!
    Barbara recently posted..Vogel Gryff or To Whom The Bell Tolls

    • Ah, I do know your answer sweet Barbara! ;) “Unconditional” is the key word here … yes!! So lovely that you see the blooming in your daughter … I pray that for mine one day. In the end there will be no other way I’m certain.

      You made my day stopping by and your thoughtful comment – thank you from across the miles!

      Sunshine to you,


      P.S.- Received your kind email – you made my day … look for my response soon!

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  12. Bill Dorman says:

    Did you say there was going to be some feeding going on? Count me in if I still have a seat at the table; I was born hungry…….:).

    I hope I am feeding others; I try not to be too me-centric and be sensitive to the people (and their feelings) around me. At the end of the day people still want to know what’s in it for me, but if helping others is part of what’s in it, then that’s ok.

    The more we can give without any expectations in return, the better off we will be. Not always easy to do, but I sure try. I have also found the more I give the more I seem to get in return……..funny how that works, huh?

    You seem like a giver to me.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Thoughts to ponder and it’s not SOPA

    • Ah food and my favorite dinner companion yet-to-be! :) I think you’re feeding others pretty darn well Bill – no doubt!

      I am a firm believer in your “give without expectations in return” statement … words to live by! Life gives back what you put into it… eventually. ;) I’m sure we could all share stories about this!

      Thank you Bill for your thoughts here and for visiting … my appreciation always!

      Be good, be happy,


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  14. Tina says:

    I love the analogy. The people in Hell would never think about “feeding each other”. They will live in Hell as they did in life~ selfish. The people in Heaven are not only happy because they are being fed, but because they are ABLE to “feed each other” so they will live in Heaven as they did in life~ giving.

    Thank you for this wonderful post! It’s “food for thought” for me, as well as several others, I’m sure~ xoxox
    Tina recently posted..Traditions are the Best Memories

    • You’re too kind missy!! So glad to see you here!! I’m in blog hell and getting spam notifications, but not real posts notifications! WAAAH!! I’d like to take a long spoon and whack someone! ;)

      So glad you’re getting back on the bandwagon girl … you need to … use those gifts of yours and change the world one word at a time! I totally believe in you!!

      Thank you for your insight and kind words … YOU make my world brighter and definitely a bit of heaven on earth for me!

      Be good, be safe!

      My love & hugs to you,

      Elena xo!

  15. Claudia says:

    Hi Elena! I LOVE that parable….interdependence is one of my husband and mine favorite concepts. It is our favorite of the “dependent” family. CO-dependence implies that you place little value on yourself and are unhealthily focused on the needs of others. DEpendent implies that you are completely dependent on other(s) for your existence. INdependent implies that you do not need anyone else in your existence. BUT INTERdependence implies a mutual respect and dependence on one another so that growth and health will abound. And, it IS a choice we make!!
    I love that you have chosen to live heaven on earth to “feed” others….that is beautiful and that is exactly how I imagine you to live your life ;-)
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful parable Elena!!
    Claudia recently posted..Four Out of Five Dentists Recommend Social Media

    • So sweet of you to read and comment Claudia!! Thank you so much!! I LOVE what you define here – absolutely perfectly stated and spot on! I’m really fascinated with the whole interdependence concept and again, it’s somewhat “new” to me, but makes perfect sense. It’s the whole “lend your brother a hand” mentality to me … you fall, I fall either way, let’s help the other back up and keep on walking together, side-by-side. I have a feeling you have some pretty long spoons and a few pairs to spare my friend – you’re true blue! :)

      Always a joy to see your beautiful face and read your words of wisdom … thanks again! Happy Sunday!



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  17. rob white says:

    Thanks for sharing that parable, Elena. I’ve never heard it before and it is indeed quite powerful. One reason that I enjoy offering what I’ve learned in books and blogs, is because what I give away, I get to keep; I take it deeper when I teach it to others. It is a win/win. I hope my readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. When we walk in the world feeling interdependence, there is something charming and interesting about us. We see the value of everyone, and we engage in interesting conversations that bring out the best in others.
    rob white recently posted..You Have the Means to Defeat the Mind’s Enemies

    • Beautifully, poetically stated Rob … I always count on you!! You have such a gift, such a way. Glad you actually learned something on my blog ;)!

      Peace always,


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