Yesterday I was out in the orchard and noticed something not quite right. On closer inspection, I realized the hailstorm we got a couple of nights ago had really done a number on the young fruit. It is still too early to tell for sure, but it looks like we may have a crop of all seconds. This morning I was out in the garden setting up cages around the tomato plants, still musing on the apple crop damage, the following story came to mind….I had come across it several years ago and posted it on the blog at that time. To this day, that story helps me process life when something comes along (like a hail storm.) DM
Once there was a farmer who had one son and one horse. One day his horse ran away. When his neighbors heard about it, they came to comfort him. “Such bad luck- we’re sorry your only horse ran away.” they said.
“Who is to say whether it’s good or bad, replied the farmer. All I can say for sure is, my horse has run away. Time will tell whether this is good or bad.” His neighbors just shook their heads and walk away.
A week later, his horse returned home- along with 20 wild horses!!!
His neighbors, upon hearing the news, came to congratulate him. “What good luck you have. Not only did your horse return, but he brought with him 20 more. Such a lucky man you are!”
“Who is to say whether it’s good or bad- All I know is my horse has come home along with 20 wild horses- and leave it at that.” Again, his neighbors shook their heads and scoffed – “Of course it’s good luck you old fool! Twenty new horses is obviously good luck!”
The next week the farmer’s son was out riding in the pen with the new horses, fell off and broke his leg. Upon hearing the news, the neighbors came over to comfort the farmer. “You were right- Those wild horses were not a sign of good fortune- now your son has broken his leg- and right before the harvest. Such bad luck!”
Again the farmer replied– “Why do you constantly want to label something as good or bad. Why can’t you just say, “My son has broken his leg while riding a horse and leave it at that. Who is to say whether it is good or bad?”
Upon hearing this, the neighbors were indignant ” Listen old man, to have your son break his leg at this time is unfortunate and a sign of bad luck. You are such a fool to think otherwise.”
The following week, an army came to town and drafted all the eligible young men, and sent them off to war in a far away place. They did not take the farmer’s son on account of his broken leg. Afterwards, the people were heartbroken and came to the farmer in tears- You were right- our sons are gone, we’ll probably never see them again- such bad luck our town has experienced!.
The old farmer (again) said- “Why do you continue to insist an event is good or bad? We do not know the end from the beginning. Why can’t you just say, Our sons have been drafted, and only time will tell if it is good or not.
I’m a dad to 4 great kids (and adopted dad to another young woman) The youngest is 28 and the oldest is 37 (today). I’ve watched again and again as God has used painful consequences to teach life lessons to my children. I try not to get too worked up when I hear some of the heartache that comes into their lives.
A night in jail is not necessarily a bad experience…..
I always told them- If you get busted, I’m not going to come and bail you out.” “I never want to go back to that place as long as I live!!!” they tell us later. It took a while, but we as a family have laughed as this child has recounted the details of their experience in that night.
Tell me about some of the hard things in your life that have eventually resulted in good. As always, thanks for reading along! DM