There is a story about an old Chinese farmer who lived in ancient times. He was the envy of his rather small village because unlike most of the other farmers, he possessed a horse.
One day, however, his horse ran away and his neighbors who soon heard of his misfortune were quick to offer him words of consolation. “What a shame that you’ve lost your horse; how sad.” The old farmer responded. “Perhaps it’s a bad thing; perhaps not. Who knows?”
Then a week after the horse ran away, it returned to the old man’s farm accompanied by another horse. Now the farmer had two horses.
“How fortunate you are,” said his neighbors. “Now you have not one but two horses.”“Perhaps I am fortunate, perhaps not. Who knows?” said the farmer.
Three days later, the farmer’s only son was thrown from the horse while trying to steady it and his arm was badly broken.
“What a shame” his neighbors chorused once again.
“Well, maybe, but maybe not, said the farmer. Who knows?”
The next day, the emperor’s army passed through the village looking for conscripts to serve and fight in a war that had recently been declared with a neighboring province. The old man’s son was passed over because of his injury while the other young men from the village were forced to join the other soldiers.
Seeing the big picture
Linda and Charlie Bloom, prominent therapists, continue
Like the old man, the stories of our lives may look good or bad at any given moment. Sometimes what appears to be a curse is actually a blessing. And vice-versa.
It’s impossible on the basis of any given experience to accurately assess the true consequence to our lives.
Unless we appreciate the full context of any situation, we can’t know what the result will ultimately be.
Knowing this helps us to avoid what can often be the great swings of mood and emotion that we go through when our desires and expectations are met or disappointed. It’s not that we won’t feel happy or sad, but that we won’t be swept away by feelings that are based on an incomplete piece of the picture.
We often believe that we know what is in store for us and that it is not good. We point to “evidence” that substantiates our concerns and seem quite certain that the future is dismal at best. We may have friends who believe that things are only going to improve in the future. They are no less certain about their version of the future than others are. Each group points to different evidence to validate their beliefs, expectations, and positions; and each is convinced that they are correct.
O Happy fault!
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says: “The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy. The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church’s solemn offering.