Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn’t have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field. One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, “Oh, what a horrible thing to happen.” The farmer said simply, “We’ll see.”
He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.
Everyone’s reaction now was, “What a lucky man.” And the farmer said, “We’ll see.”
A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, “What a poor fellow!”The farmer smiled and said, “We’ll see.”
Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, “What a fortunate man.” The farmer said, “We’ll see.”
Later in the year, the farmer’s young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, “What a shame for the poor boy.”The farmer said, “We’ll see.”
Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.Everyone said, “What a fortunate young man.”The farmer smiled again – and said “We’ll see.”
Moral of the story: There’s no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances of our everyday lives. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.
As Fra Giovanni once said:”Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me… the gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence.”
It is impossible to think like this farmer overnight. But perspective do change, and there will be opportunities to improve. That’s when people learn and become better.