the taoist parable of the old man and his horse
Today I came across a Taoist parable about a farmer and his horse I'd heard a long time ago. I liked it then, but it's even better now as a reminder when you think something tragic has befallen you.
There was once a farmer in ancient China who owned a horse. “You are so lucky!” his neighbours told him, “to have a horse to pull the cart for you.” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
One day he didn’t latch the gate properly and the horse ran away. “Oh no! That is terrible news!” his neighbours cried. “Such bad luck!” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
A few days later the horse returned, bringing with it six wild horses. “How fantastic! You are so lucky,” his neighbours told him. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The following week the farmer’s son was breaking-in one of the wild horses when it threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. “Oh no!” the neighbours cried. “Such bad luck, all over again!” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next day soldiers came and took away all the young men to fight in the army. The farmer’s son was left behind. “You are so lucky!” his neighbours cried. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
Nothing is intrinsically good or bad. There is only what happens and how we choose to respond. We never know how things might affect us with time; after all, life can only be understood backwards.
"I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become."