Institute for Charitable Giving

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The Donkey Takes a Step Up

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There are times you don’t get the gift. Or you didn’t get a good performance evaluation. Or the meeting didn’t go well.

You know the feeling.

Well, the other day I received something from Darryl Hanson I thought I would pass on to you. Darryl, by the way, was one of the very best in our profession. He retired from the firm a couple years ago.

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over to help. They all grabbed a shovel and began shoveling dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon to everyone’s amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.


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