That's Good. Perhaps. That's Bad. Perhaps.
- It's never as good as it seems
- It's never as bad as it seems
- It's all good
A Zen koan that I see play out many times.
"Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad fortune,” they said sympathetically. “We’re so sorry”. “Perhaps,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “What great fortune!” the neighbors exclaimed. “Perhaps,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Perhaps,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Perhaps,” said the farmer…"
Sometimes I'm accused of not caring because I might not show much emotion, either happy or sad. I guess I've just seen too many instances of what that farmer experienced.
Many times it's difficult to really know whether something is good or bad until you see how things eventually play out and you have the benefit of hindsight.
One of my favorite movies is a prime example. "Cinderella Man" is a true story about James Braddock, a down and out boxer, coming back against all odds. He breaks his right hand in a fight which then almost keeps him from being able to earn a subsistence living working on the docks.
You pity the poor guy. Why can't God give this guy a break? He has to cover up the fact that he has a broken hand so he doesn't lose his job. It's during the Depression and his family is just about starving to death.
But a short version of the Zen koan above is
"God works in mysterious ways".
When is a broken right hand of a fighter actually a blessing in disguise? When it forces him to develop an incredible left hand which then eventually allows him to beat the "man killer" Max Baer for the heavyweight title.
I think of this when I hear about so many teenage suicides. They give up the fight too soon. Who knows what great things were in store for them. It's never as bad as you think. What seems to be a "bad" thing might just be getting you ready for the great things to come.
I think of this with the recent celebrity suicides.
So my advice is to never give up.
Don't get too excited and don't get too depressed.
It's all good.