Why does it have to be good or bad?


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


12 thoughts on “Why does it have to be good or bad?

    • Thanks Jane! It has been an awesome weekend. Eldest daughter’s birthday is today…had a family reunion started Friday, with all of the kids making it back.


  1. The bad? Leaving the forces for the mess that is civi street.
    The good from that? My talents were transferable and something called “overtime”!
    The bad? Living on the streets.
    The good from that? Megan who watched over me. I learned so much.
    The bad? Being recruited on the streets which ultimately screwed me up..
    The good from that? The appreciation I now have for the little things in life.
    The bad? First marriage failing.
    The good from that? SWMBO xxx.
    The bad? Living in a country with bad politics and oppression.
    The good from that? I’ve found like minded friends.

    As for today? All good.
    The sun is shining, SWMBO is making us a macaroni cheese for supper, and the dog no longer smells like a wart hog having been washed.
    That and the potato plants are 3 feet high and there are two honey buzzards gently circling overhead. Beautiful and masters of the wind.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh DM, I think you read of some of the most obvious difficult parts of my life that I have every intention and hope will turn into something wonderful before long.
    I love that story by the way, and as I don’t necessarily follow the same beliefs as you I will look at the good versus bad from the sense of perspective–sort of like ‘is the glass half full or half empty’ idea. As I am trying to teach the oldest granddaughter in regards to consequences, it’s all about choice in many cases, and then the consequences of those choices- be they good or bad.
    Have a great day Doug!

    Liked by 1 person

    • good to hear from you Deb. Yep, you are right in the middle of it currently….just so you know. whenever I’m with someone who is going through something difficult..I would never ever share that story or anything remotely like it with them…I just listen when I am in the presence of someone who is suffering. Relationship pain is 1000 times harder for me than a physical pain. Glad you will not be homeless in a few weeks..! DM

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The good and the bad, being life before Hubby where it came in more or less equal measure. The bad being precvious relationshis, the good being appreciating what I have.
    Since then, we just have ‘the better’, though some days that’s not as good as others!

    Liked by 2 people

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