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About a year ago I came across a story via Alan Watts that changed my life, I’ve since heard a few different versions but the idea remains the same.
There was once a man who was the poorest in his village. One day, his only horse ran away. His neighbors came to him and said…
“How horrible this is for you, you were already the poorest in the village and now you have nothing. This is awful, just awful!”
The man did not seem bothered though. He just smiled at his neighbors and shrugged it off.
“We’ll see.” Was his reply.
The next day, his horse returned bringing 6 wild horses with him. Again his neighbors came to him, this time in joy.
“You were once the poorest in the village, and now you are one of the wealthiest. How wonderful for you, you are truly blessed!”
Again, the man just smiled and shrugged.
“We’ll see,” was his reply.
The next day, the man’s only son went into the fields to break one of the new horses. He was thrown, and his leg was crushed.
The neighbors returned, saying “Your only son is laid up, he may never walk again. You’ll have no help on your farm. How awful this is for you!”
Again the man only smiled, and shrugged. Replying the same as before.
A few days later the kings men came through the village, gathering soldiers to go to war with the neighboring kingdom. They took the oldest son from each family, leaving the whole village in grief. The man’s son was unable to go because of his injury, sparing his life.
His neighbors came to him once again, telling him how very fortunate he was to have his son home safe with him, while so many theirs had all gone to fight.
Once more, the man just smiled and shrugged.
Our initial response to a given situation in our lives is to immediately mourn our losses, or celebrate our blessings but as the situation plays out the entire picture changes, and it continues to change as time passes. What seemed at first to be a blessing can quickly become a curse, and just as quickly it can become a victory again.
In this moment and all others, nothing is truly permanent.
So, we’ll see…