*I am unaware of the origins of this story. I had it on my computer for years. If you know – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I would like to give credit where credit is due.
Back in the days of old, there was a widow who worked as the town’s seamstress. She made only a meager living from her sewing which was her only source of income. Each day, the widow sat on her front porch. As the townsfolk passed by they would often stop and chat as she sewed.
One afternoon, the widow was seen on her hands and knees crawling across the front lawn. A local man rushed up and asked in a concerned voice, “Why are you on your hands and knees?”
The widow explained that she had lost her only needle and without the needle she would be unable to work. The man decided to get down with her and help her to look for the needle. After a few minutes, he realized that it was late in the day and soon there would not be enough light to see. He hurried away to find other people to come and help with the search.
The widow was well liked and respected in the village and soon there was a large group of people joining in the search. As the sun was about to set, the concerned man asked the widow, “Can you just stop for a moment and think back to where you last had the needle?”
“Sure,” said the widow “I was sitting inside, at the kitchen table, sewing a fine piece of cloth.”
“Inside?” asked the man.
“Yes, inside!” she repeated.
Not meaning to offend, but being completely flabbergasted, the man exclaimed, “Are you completely mad, woman?” She looked at him quizzically and he went on, “If you last had the needle inside the house, then why were you searching for it outside on the lawn?” and he added, “Why have all of the town’s people searching outside for what you lost inside?”
The widow took a moment to answer and then stated in a gentle voice, “Sir, I have sat on my porch for many years. In those years I have engaged in many conversations with most of the townsfolk. I too, have wondered the same thing, Why is it that you all come to me, looking outside of yourselves, for what you have lost inside?”