A Series of Fortunate Events

Image by Susann Mielke from Pixabay

Sometimes it takes a bit of time before we can tell if an event will turn out to be good or bad for us.

Take the famous Chinese proverb about Sai Weng losing his horse. The story goes like this:

Sai Weng, a old farmer, raised horses for a living. One day, his prized stallion ran away. His neighbours comforted him in his misfortune by saying, “What terrible luck!”

Sai Weng merely replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later, the stallion returned, bringing with it several wild mares. The farmer’s neighbours congratulated him on his good fortune: “What wonderful luck!”

Again, Sai Weng only said, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

One day, Sai Weng’s son tried to ride one of the new mares, but was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbours again commiserated with the farmer, saying, “What bad luck!”

Sai Weng once again replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later, soldiers from the national army came through town, conscripting all able-bodied men for service in the war. The farmer’s son was spared, however, because he was still recovering from his broken leg. The neighbours said, “What great luck!”

Sai Weng simply said with a smile, “We’ll see.”

We often can’t judge whether an event in an of itself is fortunate or unfortunate. Sometimes only time will tell the whole story.

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Living in a Snow Globe

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Did you have a snow globe as a child?

I did. I loved taking it in my hand and shaking it to see the sparkly fake snow whip up into a blizzard around the little figures inside. I knew that the snowstorm was limited in scope, however, and would soon settle down. I had the globe in the palm of my hand, after all, and governed events inside.

But imagine the snow globe from the perspective of the tiny “people” inside it. From their vantage point, all they can see is whirling whiteness that seems to have no end. They’re blinded to the fact that outside their little bubble, there’s no storm at all: everything is calm and under control.

Life here on earth can be a bit like living inside a snow globe, can’t it?

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