A few years ago, I was going through a rough patch. Life had dealt me one ‘lousy hand’ too many, and I did not know which way to turn. Someone suggested I should talk things over with a man they knew who had a lot of life experience. To begin with, I was somewhat dubious, but I agreed, and the man became one of my closest friends. Sadly, he passed away several years ago, but I thought it would be nice to share a story he once told me. It helped me immensely at the time, and with everything that is going on at present, I believe we all need as much inspiration as we can get.
It is an old Chinese proverb, and it goes something like this.
Once there was an old fisherman. He had a son, who he relied upon to mend his nets and take his catch to market.
One day the old fisherman’s son was in the countryside enjoying the fresh air when he found a beautiful white horse. The son brought the horse to his father and said, “Look, father, what I have found. This white horse will help us take the fish to market.”
All the people in the village came to the old fisherman and congratulated him on his good fortune.
To their amazement, the old fisherman replied, “Who knows what’s good or what’s bad?”
A few days later, the old fisherman’s son was out riding the horse when he fell from his steed and broke his leg.
All the people in the village came to the old fisherman to commiserate with him about his misfortune.
Again, to the astonishment of the people, the old fisherman said, “Who knows what’s good or what’s bad?”
A few weeks passed when the King’s men came to the village to conscript all the young men into the army. There was a great war, and the King needed all the young men he could find to battle the enemy.
The King’s men came to the old fisherman’s house, but when they saw his son had a broken leg, they said, “This man is no use to the King, ride on.” So they left the old fisherman and his son in peace.
Six months passed, and word reached the village that although the King had won the war, all the young men from the village had died in battle. But the old fisherman’s son was well, his leg had healed, and he was once again helping his father take the fish to market.
So the moral of the story? Who knows what’s good or what’s bad?
Never take things at face value. What you think is terrible now might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened.